Flossie and the Foxby Patricia C. McKissack, Rachel Isadora
Plucky Flossie Finley asks a clever fox to prove that he is a fox before she will be frightened of him on her way to deliver a basket of eggs.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyFlossie carefully stores her straw doll in a hollow tree stump when Big Mama calls her away from play. She wants Flossie to deliver eggs to ``Miz Viola over at the McCutchin Place. Seem like they been troubled by a fox. Miz Viola's chickens be so scared, they can't even now lay a stone.'' Flossie has never seen a fox, but sets off through the shady, cool woods. When she meets the fox, she doesn't recognize him, and so introduces herself. He identifies himself, but Flossie doesn't believe him. He points out his thick fur. ``Feels like rabbit fur to me,'' Flossie replies. ``You a rabbit.'' The fox notes his long pointed nose, and Flossie decides that rats have similar noses. ``You a rat trying to pass yo'self off as a fox.'' The fox desperately tries to persuade Flossie of his identity. She just keeps walking, until they are in the road, where the McCutchin hounds are ready to pounce on the fox. ``The hounds know who I am!'' the fox cries. ``I know,'' says Flossie. Her eggs are safe, and the little girl has outfoxed the ``ol' confidencer.'' This is a sly tale, richly evoked by both Isadora's lavish paintings and the storyteller's dialect. (4-8)
School Library JournalGr 1-3 McKissack recounts this story which was told to her as a child by her grandfather. Flossie is a young black girl who lives with her grandmother in the rural south. When Big Mama sends Flossie to deliver a basket of eggs to a neighbor, she cautions her to be careful of the fox who had been frightening the chickens and stealing their eggs. To Flossie's ``How do a fox look?,'' Big Mama responds that ``A fox be just a fox.'' Having no idea what this means, Flossie sets out on her mission through a wooded area, where she is greeted by the fox. As he tries to convince her that he is to be feared, she refutes him by insisting that he prove who he is. To readers' delight, the frustrated fox fails every attempt. Fox' final confrontation with a fierce dog saves the day for Flossie, who proves herself to be more cunning than the fox. The watercolor and ink illustrations, with realistic figures set on impressionistic backgrounds, enliven this humorous and well-structured story which is told in the black language of the rural south. The language is true, and the illustrations are marvelously complementary in their interpretation of the events. This spirited little girl will capture readers from the beginning, and they'll adore her by the end of this delightful story. Helen E. Williams, University of Maryland, College Park
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