It’s Halloween, which means it’s finally time to unveil the chillingly adorable cover for Scary Stories for Young Foxes.
But first, a rapid-fire look at foxes in kids’ books.
The Fox and the Grapes from Aesop’s Fables
For centuries, foxes have been portrayed as vicious tricksters.
They’ve served as a warning to children about who to trust. Or rather, which animal not to trust.
This is good advice if you’re a chicken . . .
Foxy Loxy from Chicken Little, illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren
From The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck by Beatrix Potter
or made of gingerbread . . .
Pinnochio by Carlo Collodi, illustration by Enrico Mazzanti
And farmers have every reason not to trust foxes.
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl, illustrations by Quentin Blake
The rest of us have been lied to.
We’ve been told that foxes are nothing more than lying cheats.
We have been, to borrow a human term, outfoxed by these stories.
Which is unfortunate.
I mean, look.
Of course, not all literary foxes have been portrayed poorly.
Disney’s The Fox and the Hound, based on the novel by Daniel P. Maddux
Pax by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Jon Klassen
But for the most part . . .
Disney’s Br’er Fox based on Uncle Remus’s Folktales
Slagar the Cruel from Redwall by Brian Jacques, art by kaziikat (Deviant Art)
Few humans realize that fox kits are just as vulnerable as other animals.
Maybe even more so.
Kits are hunted, eaten, or separated from their dens.
Many don’t survive their first winter.
We’ve vilified foxes for so long, we don’t think about the things that go bump in the night for baby foxes.
This summer, that’s going to change.
Art by Junyi Wu, cover design by Carol Ly
Mark on Goodreads here.
Read about the story here.