The Tale of Tricky Fox: A New England Trickster Tale


The fun begins when Tricky Fox makes a bet with his brother that he can trick a silly human into giving him a pig. ³I¹ll eat my hat, if you can,² says his brother, and Tricky Fox sets off to win his bet. It appears that Tricky Fox will get himself a pig - that is, until he meets a clever schoolteacher who outsmarts him! Here is a rollicking tale filled with marvelously expressive animals, witty plot twists, and even a recipe for ³Eat Your Hat Cookies!²

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The fun begins when Tricky Fox makes a bet with his brother that he can trick a silly human into giving him a pig. ³I¹ll eat my hat, if you can,² says his brother, and Tricky Fox sets off to win his bet. It appears that Tricky Fox will get himself a pig - that is, until he meets a clever schoolteacher who outsmarts him! Here is a rollicking tale filled with marvelously expressive animals, witty plot twists, and even a recipe for ³Eat Your Hat Cookies!²

Tricky Fox uses his sack to trick everyone he meets into giving him ever more valuable items.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The clever collaborators behind The Gingerbread Man and Aunt Pitty Patty's Piggy offer another buoyant retelling in this tale within a tale. A teacher from yesteryear gathers her students around her to read to them a bookDwhich keen-eyed kids will recognize as the book in their own hands. It introduces Tricky Fox who brags to his brother that "I'm going to get me a fat pig!" Insisting that a fox could not possible carry such a critter, Brother Fox replies, "I'll eat my hat if you do!" The title character grows positivelyDand contagiouslyDgleeful as he tricks one and then another woman, so that it seems he just may accomplish his mission. Yet the next would-be victim of his pranks is a teacher (in fact, the very one seen on the opening page), and "Tricky Fox didn't know that teachers are not so easy to fool as regular humans are." Rendered in watercolor, black ink and gouache, McClintock's endearingly antique pictures add to the merriment, especially when the conniving fox winks at readers, drawing them into his joke. Cleverly paced repetition and an unexpected ending make this droll caper a winning choice. Ages 3-6. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This enchanting tale features Tricky Fox, a wily creature who thinks he can fool a human into putting a plump pig into his sack. Not believing his brother's boastful claim, Brother Fox agrees to eat his hat only if the feat is accomplished. Anxious to get started, Tricky Fox darts off with his sack in hand, places a log inside and convinces an old woman to let him stay the night, as long as she doesn't look inside his sack. After agreeing to guard the sack, her curiosity gets the best of her and she looks inside only to see the log. When she falls asleep, the fox removes the log and waits until the next day to put his plan into effect. In the morning he tricks her into placing a loaf of bread into his sack and then continues on his journey, singing a sassy song along the way. The following night at a nearby cottage, he tricks another old woman into letting him stay the night and eventually gets her to place a chicken in his sack. Pleased with his success, he ventures to a third cottage, which happens to be the home of a clever teacher. This final stop is the location where he thinks he's getting his pig, however, after setting his plan into motion, the old woman catches on and places a bulldog into his sack instead. Needless to say, she has the last laugh and the fox brothers are sent scurrying. The lively text and expressive watercolors make this book a worthwhile reading experience. In fact, youngsters will laugh out loud as they read this rollicking story. As an extra bonus, the author includes a recipe on the back cover for Tricky Fox's Eat-Your-Hat Cookies. This notable trickster tale will make an excellent addition to any folktale collection. 2001, Scholastic Press, $15.95. Ages 5to 8. Reviewer: Debra Briatico
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-As they did in The Gingerbread Man (Scholastic, 1998), Aylesworth and McClintock have teamed up again, this time to create the wiliest of creatures in this version of "The Travels of a Fox." Acting on a bet he makes with Brother Fox, Tricky Fox vows to bring home a pig rather than a chicken for supper. He begs his way into homes, carrying a bag. When he goes to sleep, he tells the host to keep an eye on his bag, but not to look inside it. Knowing human nature, he figures that the homeowner will take a peek. During the night, he disposes of the contents of the bag and in the morning claims that something better was stolen. Of course, his hostess is embarrassed that this has happened in her own home and replaces whatever the fox claimed was in his sack. He pulls this con on several unsuspecting women until he meets up with a teacher, who sees through the ruse and puts her ferocious bulldog in his sack. What a surprise both Tricky and Brother Fox get when they open the bag at home. The romping good humor of the story is carried by the old-fashioned illustrations in sepia tones. Their size diversity-from small insets to full-page spread-moves the story to its conclusion. The tale is told by the teacher who finally unmasks the rascal. The expressions on Tricky and his unsuspecting victims are priceless.-Barbara Buckley, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A veteran educator, Aylesworth slips young would-be tricksters a friendly warning in this trippingly retold folktale. Boasting that he's slyer than any human, Tricky Fox sets out to parlay a piece of firewood into a pig. Passing himself off as a weary traveler, he's successful at first, exchanging the wood for a loaf of bread, and the loaf for a chicken. But the woman who owns the pig happens to be a teacher and, as we all know,"teachers are not so easy to fool as regular humans." Fox hauls his heavy sack home in triumph—only to discover not a pig inside, but a bulldog. McClintock gives her finely detailed illustrations a 19th-century cast and look, with a bushy-tailed fox capering about on hindlegs, long-dressed, buttoned-down women with pinned-up hair, and everyone with slightly oversized heads to make facial expressions easier to see. With Tricky Fox's gleeful jingle—"I'm so clever—tee-hee-hee! / Trick, trick, tricky! Yes, siree! / Snap your fingers. Slap your knee. / Human folks ain't smart like me." —for a chorus, this lighthearted caper from the creators of Aunt Pitty Patty's Piggy (1999) is made for reading aloud. Source note. (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804568852
  • Publisher: Spoken Arts, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/2001
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years

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