When an injured fox (crippled by a steel-jawed trap) hobbled into Cherie Mason‚s yard one morning, it was the start of a special and unusual relationship. The young fox had every reason to fear humans, yet was won over by Cherie‚s persistent gentleness˜and the tidbits from her kitchen. For half a year he was a regular visitor and became something of a celebrity in the small Maine community. Yet he always remained a wild fox. He hunted his own food and interacted with other foxes. This is Cherie Mason‚s poignant ...
When an injured fox (crippled by a steel-jawed trap) hobbled into Cherie Mason‚s yard one morning, it was the start of a special and unusual relationship. The young fox had every reason to fear humans, yet was won over by Cherie‚s persistent gentleness˜and the tidbits from her kitchen. For half a year he was a regular visitor and became something of a celebrity in the small Maine community. Yet he always remained a wild fox. He hunted his own food and interacted with other foxes. This is Cherie Mason‚s poignant story of how she befriended a wild creature, knowing that his instincts would soon lead him away forever. Suffused with gentle wonder, Wild Fox speaks to the deep human longing to span the gulf between species.
"Absolutely the outstanding natural history title of the year."
- Publisher's Weekly
``Have you ever touched the nose of a wild red fox? I have.'' With this pleasingly disconcerting opening, Mason leads readers into the wonder of her relationship with an unexpected backyard visitant. When a maimed fox accepts her offering of chicken, Mason grows curious about her skittish forest neighbor and deliberates about how far she should intervene in saving his life. Vicky--as the fox comes to be called--savors Mason's treats (especially blueberry muffins), although he never abandons his wild nature. But one memorable night, as friends watch ``the rippling pink and lavender curtains of the northern lights,'' the bushy-tailed animal joins the group--a leaping, somersaulting form among spellbound human shadows. Surrounded by Stammen's strikingly poignant and elegantly rendered pastel illustrations, the book's sustantial text rests not on poetic power alone, but also on the natural eloquence of a truly told event. Indeed, Mason checks tender yearnings with a conversational tone, weaving in pertinent facts and telling of experiences rather than of feelings, all of which lend force to the softly dramatic and bittersweet ending. Mason communicates her innate awe at reaching across the chasm that separates civilized intelligence from feral instinct, and her riveting book pinpoints that charged, mysterious intersection where humans can meet the wild without taming it. Ages 5-13. (June)
- Dr. Judy Rowen
The author's wonderful encounter with a wounded fox on Deer Isle, Maine is told in simple prose and luminous drawings. An apparent victim of a steel-jaw leghold trap, "Vicky" lost his right front paw. He regained his strength, partly due to chicken drumsticks and blueberry muffins provided by the author. He warily accepted her presence, and gradually became quite comfortable at her home. The author conveys the special joy she felt sharing her world with this beautiful creature, and her wistful pleasure when Vicky finally returned to the wild. School Library Journal Best Book.
The adult narrator writes in the first person about her encounters with a lame fox near her home on Deer Isle, Maine. Written with an awareness of ecological issues as well as a love of animals that will draw children to the story, Mason's account will have readers wishing they, too, could have close encounters with the wild. This picture book for older readers is well designed and features softly shaded, full-color artwork on every page, from small vignettes to double-page spreads. A short, appealing story for larger collections.
Cherie Mason has been active in environmental and wildlife protection causes for more than forty years. She has also been a radio and television actress and worked as environmental journalist for Maine public radio. She lives in Sunset, Maine.
JoEllen McAllister Stammen studied illustration at Parsons School of Design in New York City. She now runs JoEllen Designs, and creates handhooked wool rugs and pillows. She lives in Camden, Maine.