Fox Eyes

Overview

Martin is spending the end of summer with Great-Aunt Zavella. She knows the woods inside and out, every fern and every flower. She even seems to know the red fox that watches Martin when he plays the violin. Aunt Zavella has warned Martin never to stare into a fox’s eyes. But what could possibly happen if he did?


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Overview

Martin is spending the end of summer with Great-Aunt Zavella. She knows the woods inside and out, every fern and every flower. She even seems to know the red fox that watches Martin when he plays the violin. Aunt Zavella has warned Martin never to stare into a fox’s eyes. But what could possibly happen if he did?


Martin's grandmother warns him about looking too long into the eyes of a fox, but he can't resist and finds himself in the fox's body for a day.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
An entry in the "Road to Reading" series, this eleven-chapter fantasy imagines that if a boy looks too long into the eyes of a golden fox, he and the fox change places. It happens to Martin on his last day with his Great Aunt Zavella, and both Martin and the fox enjoy their species switch. Martin loves chasing animals in the forest, avoiding his violin practice and being tuned in to nature. But he can't face the killed rabbits and chipmunks, and cinnamon smells call him home. While he doesn't want to change places with the fox, the fox is dying to learn to play the violin, so just for a minute the two switch back. But once back in their natural skins, both are glad. As Martin goes home, the fox and Great Aunt Zavella find each other because she can speak fox, having learned it in the old country. A cut above the usual easy reader, this book reads smoothly, the fantasy is just enough to propel the story along, and loose ends are tied up. Martin is a likeable character, and Gerstein's pen-and-ink illustrations are nicely spaced and artistically interesting. A good read for capable second and third grade readers. 2001, Golden Books, $3.99. Ages 7 to 9. Reviewer: Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-In the first book, Martin is spending the summer with his Great Aunt Zavella, who has warned him never to stare into a fox's eyes. However, he is tempted and finds himself in the fox's body for a day. Using a magical-realism style, Gerstein is successful in leading readers to suspend belief that the child and animal could change places. Yet this is a complicated concept for new readers. Rich and Famous is a sequel to Welcome to Starvation Lake (Golden, 2000). Here, the fourth graders are having a contest to see who can raise the most money to pay for a class trip to ecology camp. The plot is filled with action, exaggerated humor, and clever twists. Both books consist of text with simple sentence construction peppered with a few complex sentences. Even though these transitional chapter books look appropriate for third-grade children, some inexperienced readers will find the stories a bit too complex to follow. Both books have some chapters that are 13 pages long, broken by only one or two full-page, pen-and-ink illustrations. Margins provide only a limited amount of white space. In addition, Rich and Famous has nine characters plus assorted family members, friends, and teachers to keep track of as they travel from home to school in the story. These are not first purchases.-Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
On the last day of a summer vacation, Martin looks into a fox's eyes, and discovers just what his Great Aunt Zavella meant when she warned him of the "little trick" that foxes can play. Suddenly, he has four legs and a bushy tail-and clever Sharpnose, who had engineered the whole encounter, is lodged in a boy's body, with its oh-so-useful hands. Both are exhilarated by the switch, at least initially. Adding occasional freely sketched ink drawings that reflect the sunny tone, Gerstein crafts a tale rich in magic, music, and the profound pleasure of suddenly seeing the world through new eyes. Great Aunt Zavella, who grew up in the Old Country where "nothing is only one thing and everything can be anything"-and where every child learns fox language in the second grade-isn't fooled for long; working subtle magic of her own with songs and good-humored persuasion, she soon has the pair happily back in their original bodies. New chapter-book readers will be won over by the episode's engaging cast and well-tuned sense of wonder. (Fiction. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307265098
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 4/26/2005
  • Series: Road to Reading Series
  • Pages: 80
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.63 (h) x 0.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Mordicai Gerstein
Mordicai Gerstein
Mordicai Gerstein was already a talented children’s book illustrator when he decided to start writing children’s books of his own. Since then, he has released dozens of titles and has won nearly as many awards for his stories of childhood innocence, spiritual exploration, and imagination gone wild. His biographical story of tightrope walker Philippe Petit won the 2004 Caldecott Medal, making The Man Who Walked Between the Towers the most distinguished American picture book for children in 2004.

Biography

Mordicai Gerstein has always been an artist. As a child, he enjoyed painting and eventually graduated from art school in Los Angeles. He continued painting in New York City and supported himself and his family for 25 years by designing and directing animated television commercials. He says, "I had always loved cartoons, especially Bugs Bunny, and I found I enjoyed making animated films. Even a 30-second commercial involved drawing and painting, storytelling, not to mention actors, music, and sound effects."

During the 1960s, Gerstein made several films that received critical acclaim. In 1966, The Room won the Award of the Film Clubs of France at the International Festival for Experimental Film, and in 1968, The Magic Ring won a CINE Golden Eagle.

His career took a dramatic turn when he met children's author Elizabeth Levy in 1970. He has illustrated her Something Queer Is Going On chapter books ever since, and it was Levy and her editor who encouraged Gerstein to write a book on his own. His debut came in 1983 with Arnold of the Ducks, the story of a young boy who gets lost in the wild and is raised by ducks. The New York Times hailed Gerstein's freshman effort as one of the year's best children's books, and he went on to write two more volumes exploring the theme of feral childhood. In 1998 he released The Wild Boy, a picture book based on the true story of a young 18th-century French boy who was found living in the woods and was put on display as an oddity, only to escape and be captured again years later. That same year, Gerstein released Victor, a young adult novel about the same boy.

Gerstein tells the story is of a Tibetan woodcutter who is given a choice between reincarnation or heaven in The Mountains of Tibet, which received the distinction of being one of 1987's ten best illustrated books of the year, according to The New York Times. Although the book is written for kids around age seven, Gerstein approaches the subject of death with a bold, sensitive plot and elegant illustrations. Spirituality is a major theme in many of Gerstein's books. He has interpreted tales from the Bible in Jonah and the Two Great Fish (1997), Noah and the Great Flood (1999), and Queen Esther the Morning Star (2001). Other titles such as The Seal Mother (1986), The Story of May (1993), and The Shadow of a Flying Bird (1994) also express Gerstein's reverential awe for the world.

Young readers can also stretch their imaginations with Gerstein's more playful books. Vocabulary is fun in The Absolutely Awful Alphabet (1999), where the letter P is actually a particularly putrid predator! Bedtime Everybody! (1996) has a young girl's stuffed animals planning a bedtime picnic. Behind the Couch (1996) takes readers on an exciting caper into an unknown world of grazing dust balls, Lost Coin Hill and the Valley of the Stuffed Animals. In Stop Those Pants (1998), a boy is forced to play hide-and-seek with his clothes as he gets ready for the day. Gerstein pays tribute to American composer Charles Ives in What Charlie Heard (2002), the story of a boy's unique talent for interpreting all the sounds of daily life.

Another biographical picture book, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (2003) tells the story of Philippe Petit, the daredevil who walked across a tightrope suspended between New York City's World Trade Center towers in 1974. The book won the Caldecott Medal in 2004, and parents have praised the book as an invaluable tool for talking to their children about the events of 9/11.

Many of Gerstein's children's books are destined to be classics. His style of writing and illustration brings each of his stories to life, shows a passion for adventure, and relishes the joy that comes from understanding the mysteries of the world.

Good To Know

Despite a successful career illustrating children's books, the first book Gerstein wrote, Arnold of the Ducks, was turned down by seven publishers. Eventually, The New York Times called it one of the best children's books of the year.

Gerstein was inspired to write The Mountains of Tibet after reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northhampton, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 25, 1935
    2. Place of Birth:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Education:
      Chouinard Institute of Art
    2. Website:

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