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Children's LiteratureAs they did in Adopted by an Owl (2001), Robbyn and Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen detail their recovery and release of a red fox kit from a woodland trap. The appealing paintings show the appealing fox kit, which they named Samantha, with her adoptive family, including Miles, the dog who discovered the injured fox and became its friend. One especially humorous picture shows the two cavorting and leaping on field mice in a horse pasture while its larger inhabitants watch dispassionately. The story is told in alternating text and journal entries. Most wildlife rehabilitation is aimed at returning the animal to its native habitat and this story is no exception. The journal entries reflect the author's emotions, delight as well as her anxiety and sadness at the fox's gradual return to the wild. The accompanying text is a narrative, factual account that works well. The story ends satisfyingly with Samantha's finding a mate, the emergence of four fur-balls from their den early in the spring, and a feeling that life for this wild creature will continue successfully. Read as a whole, the story also conveys information about a fox's life cycle, habitat, and what it eats (and what eats fox pups). Extra information is also presented in a single page of "Fox Facts," such as some foxes like to climb trees, and a comparison of life expectancy in the wild (three years) and in captivity (up to 16 years). These are facts children may like to discuss. It's a beautiful book which appeals to both family read-aloud time as well as to report writers. It is also one that would make more meaningful the straightforward informational books, such as Caroline Arnold's Fox with photographs by Richard Hewett or JimArnosky's pleasant sketches in Watching Foxes. 2004, Sleeping Bear Press, Ages 6 to 11.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.