Outfoxed
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Outfoxed

by Mike Twohy
     
 

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Quack, quackwoof? A quick-thinking duck keeps a fox on his toes in this witty romp from a New Yorker cartoonist.

One dark night in the henhouse, a hungry fox in search of his dinner gets more than he bargains for. Instead of a chicken, Fox grabs a duck. A very smart duck. A duck so sly, he plans to convince Fox that he

Overview

Quack, quackwoof? A quick-thinking duck keeps a fox on his toes in this witty romp from a New Yorker cartoonist.

One dark night in the henhouse, a hungry fox in search of his dinner gets more than he bargains for. Instead of a chicken, Fox grabs a duck. A very smart duck. A duck so sly, he plans to convince Fox that he isn’t a duck but a—dog! Yes, a dog.

This clever story and its accompanying visual narrative will delight readers young and old—because if it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it HAS to be a duck…right?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this winning comedy from Twohy (Poindexter Makes a Friend), a duck escapes death by persuading a fox that he’s not a duck at all, but a dog. Framed panels with hand-lettered narration and dialogue tell the story, and Twohy’s urgent marker coloring heightens the fox’s initial nighttime heist and the duck’s efforts to save its neck. When the fox discovers that the “chicken” he’s snatched from the hen house isn’t actually a chicken, the duck stalls by trying all the dog behaviors he knows, slobbering on Fox’s coat, wagging his tail, and looking adorable. “Duck barks,” reads the next panel. “Bark! Bark! Bark! Quack, oops! Bark!” Then Fox brings in a wading pool. “I will trick Duck,” he says, one eye closed in malicious calculation. “If Duck swims, I will eat him.” Duck shuns the water and pees on the carpet. The psychic swordplay between the two adversaries segues from classic fairytale trajectory to a burgeoning story about the charms of dog ownership before ending with a zinger. Steady humor and skilled pacing make this a keeper. Ages 4–8. Agent: Elena Mechlin, Pippin Properties. (Sept.)
Bulletin
A conniving fox breaks into a henhouse one night and makes off with what he
thinks is a chicken. When he arrives home, he discovers that the bird he stuffed into
his coat pocket is actually a duck—or is it? The clever duck pretends to be a dog,
carrying his ruse to elaborate lengths, from barking and wagging his tail (well, his
tailfeathers) to chewing up the fox’s clothes and peeing on the carpet. The puzzled
fox is bamboozled by this behavior and returns the duck/dog to the farm, explaining
that “foxes don’t eat dogs and foxes don’t have pets.” After returning home, the fox
wonders if maybe he should have kept the little guy after all—until he spots the
egg that the “dog” left behind and realizes he’s been played. The story unfolds in
panel sequences like a comic, with in-image dialogue the only words, and Twohy
adeptly uses that format to successfully convey both the humor and the drama of
this interlude between fox and duck. The narration of the text is peppered with
asides in speech balloons from the duck and the fox, and the duck’s formal address
of the fox (“You are mistaken, sir. I am NOT a DUCK!”) also adds to the humor.
The duck’s doglike behavior (especially the peeing on the carpet) will cause giggles,
and kids will enjoy being in on the duck’s deception. The lively illustrations, rendered
in marker and colored pencil, have a casual but controlled line, and the clear
compositions and expressive figures make the action easy to follow. The mostly
accessible vocabulary and brevity of the text will put this within reach of many
primary grade readers and the comic-like format may appeal to reluctant readers.
This would be a “quacker-jack” addition to a duck- or fox-themed storytime, or
an interesting title to contrast with Beatrix Potter’s lengthier The Tale of Jemima
Puddle-Duck. JH
Horn Book
Outfoxed

by Mike Twohy; illus. by the author

Preschool, Primary Wiseman/Simon 0 pp.

9/13 78-1-4424-7392-8 15.99

e-book ed. 978-1-4424-7393-5 12.99

Fox faces a dilemma after a late-night chicken heist. He had broken into the henhouse under the cover of darkness; back in his brightly lit den, he’s surprised to find that he’s nabbed a duck by mistake. The problem? The duck claims to be a dog, sniffing and slobbering and wagging with puppy-like enthusiasm. Fox is skeptical. Duck, however, is very convincing, and by the time Duck “runs into [the] living room and pees on [the] carpet,” Fox gives up for the night: “I might still have you for breakfast.” Duck’s bold scheme (and Fox’s credulity) will thrill young readers, even those who’ve previously encountered the old dinner-tricks-predator-and-gets-away premise. Cartoonist Twohy knows how to wield a black line; his comical illustrations are integral to the storytelling, conveying tone and helping to advance the story. The straight-faced narrator’s commentary—“in the morning Fox wakes up to hot duck breath and a wet face”—manages to play up the farce while letting Duck’s shenanigans speak for themselves. Fox is howling mad to discover he’s been hoodwinked, but storytime audiences will howl with laughter when Fox finds what the “little doggie” left behind. The yolk’s on Fox, but at least he can have the egg for dinner. kitty flynn

Children's Literature - Suzanne Javid
A very hungry fox leaves his big den on a very dark night in search of dinner. He breaks into a henhouse, grabs a chicken, stuffs it into his pocket, and runs. But, is it really a chicken he grabbed? In silly, lighthearted and humorous text, readers find that the fox gets more than he bargained for—much more. The duck he grabbed is quite a character, and smart. He even convinces Fox that he is not a duck but a dog! Thirty-nine glossy full-page framed cartoon-style images are colorfully laid out in a graphic novel layout, with hand-lettered font. However, the clutter of color, text and graphics on the first five pages may confuse beginning readers. Also, it is difficult to understand why the author includes a few incomplete sentences in an otherwise delightfully simple and humorous story. The author is also the illustrator, and his cartoons have been published regularly by The New Yorker. This is a story that may promote print motivation, print awareness, letter knowledge, and vocabulary. The last two pages are the best. Fox realizes he has been “had” in a delightfully funny way. Bark, bark, quack, oops, bark! “Outfoxed,” indeed! Reviewer: Suzanne Javid; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…but wait, this white-feathered yellow-billed bird is barking like a dog, slobbering like a dog, chewing up socks like a dog. What gives? That's what Fox wants to know after he inadvertently grabs a duck out of the henhouse intent on enjoying a chicken dinner. But maybe a duck will do? Clever duck manages to avoid the cookpot by declaring, "You are mistaken, sir. I am NOT a DUCK!" and adopting a variety of classic doggy behaviors such as wagging her tail and peeing on the carpet. Finally, Fox relents and takes the "dog" back to the farm where she belongs, only to find a surprise in the house that blows the lid off the whole ruse. The hilarious illustrations sketched with marker and colored pencil are designed like large comic book panels and have a real slapstick appeal that is perfectly suited to the comedic text. Kids will love being in on the joke, and the large word bubbles make reading easy even for beginners. Don't be outfoxed. Get quacking and buy this book.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Cartoonist Twohy delivers lackluster laughs in this tale of a clever duck and not-too-bright fox. The story opens with confusingly scriptlike narration (without the benefit of a stage/screen setup) as a cloaked fox breaks into a chicken coop. Without looking, Fox grabs a hen and runs (strangely, on all fours, despite wearing a trench coat and sneakers on his find feet). Readers may be confused as to why Fox is on the run, but a page turn reveals the guard dogs on his tail. The thick-lined, comic book–esque illustrations depict Fox making a narrow escape and arriving home to discover he mistakenly bagged a duck. But Duck is not resigned to be dinner and goes about attempting to convince Fox that she is a dog in a protracted pantomime. Unsure, Fox tries to trick Duck into revealing her true nature and fails, returning Duck to her home the following day. Just as Fox returns to his den and begins to regret having given up a potential pet, he discovers his mistake. While this book may elicit laughs, the choppy pacing, grammatical shortcuts and confusing lack of direction as to what should be read first on a given page (the narration or the speech/thought bubbles?) will make for difficult read-alouds. A goose egg. (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442473928
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publication date:
09/24/2013
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
490,071
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.00(d)
Lexile:
AD340L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Mike Twohy has been drawing cartoons as far back as he can remember. The author and illustrator of Poindexter Makes a Friend, Outfoxed, and Wake Up, Rupert!, he received his MFA in painting in 1973 from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1980 his first drawing was published in The New Yorker, which has published his cartoons regularly ever since. He has written and illustrated several books for children, including Outfoxed, about which the Horn Book said “storytime audiences will howl with laughter.” He lives with his wife, cat, and Newfoundland in Berkeley, California.

Mike Twohy has been drawing cartoons as far back as he can remember. The author and illustrator of Poindexter Makes a Friend, Outfoxed, and Wake Up, Rupert!, he received his MFA in painting in 1973 from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1980 his first drawing was published in The New Yorker, which has published his cartoons regularly ever since. He has written and illustrated several books for children, including Outfoxed, about which the Horn Book said “storytime audiences will howl with laughter.” He lives with his wife, cat, and Newfoundland in Berkeley, California.

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