A timeless folk song provides inspiration for some of the funniest, brightest drawings Peter Spier has ever produced. In the song, a fox forages for food in the village to bring to his family back in the den. The music is also included so everyone can sing along.
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This Spier work was different in that his illustrations were paired to lyrics of an old song, so it read like a long illustrated lyrical poem. Mr. Spiers switches throughout this work between color and black and white. There doesn't seem to be a pattern, but creates a sense of pause now ans then in the story line. In the beginning of the book the fox seems to be the antagonist; attacking the town at night to steal and kill. However, after the fox has gotten his duck and arrives home, there is a stark contrast between the fox at the end of the story and the one at the beginning. The fox at the end lives in a 'den' but his den looks like a human household from an earlier part of the book. The fox prepares and feeds his young, like a human. The personification of the fox is rather cute. A happy ending, not a creature to be feared. Peter Spier's illustrations are critical to this story/song. The text could almost be deleted his illustrations are so detailed and engaging. In fact I found myself looking at the black and white pages more carefully than the color illustrations. Whatever function the black and white was supposed to serve, I feel that technique accomplishes the intended goal. A great work for an emerging reader.more
This Caldecott Honor Book has been a favorite in my family for about 30 years and was a frequently requested story for my four boys as they were growing up. It was illustrated in 1961 by Peter Spier and is based on a Burl Ives arrangement from 1945 of an old folk tune called "The Fox." The lyrics make up the lively text. Spier's wonderful line drawings are filled with details, plenty of action and a folksy, down-home world of a bygone era from the turn of the last century. Every other page is in full color with the rest in black and white. The drawings are so chock full of details that you will enjoy the black and white ones nearly as much as the colored ones. Small town life and a rustic farm homestead come to life in these pages as the fox goes out on a chilly night to find supper for his hungry children. The pictures are informative and interesting and funny. There is so much flavor in this book that you'll want to share it with the kids again and again. There is music at the back of the book for voice, piano and guitar so that you can sing along and teach the kids to join in. All seven verses are included. I still sing this song on road trips and every one of my grown children remembers the words. It's a treasure.more
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