Illustrated by Georg Hallensleben Published February 2007
Against the rhythmic background of turning seasons, a little fox learns that there is a time for everything. The rain, the clouds, the days all come and go as the little fox, guided by his wise and loving parents, learns to hunt on his own and bury his food, cover his trail and run like the wind. Now he is ready to go out on his own.
As depicted by an award-winning pair, the gentle story of the rearing of a baby fox, together with sensuous illustrations, takes readers on a journey deep into the woods to tell a tale that all will recognize – that of growing up and moving out.
School Library Journal
Rich, saturated colors fill the spreads with the seasons’ deep hues as they depict the young animal’s progress toward independence. Van Gogh-like sweeps of color indicate tall grasses, while splotches of paint deftly reveal the changing hues of leaves and sky. The endpapers show a silvery landscape bathed in moonlight. This picture book is a tender tribute to family. -—Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
As in The Great Blue House (2005), Banks and Hallensleben offer another atmospheric picture book that celebrates seasonal change. In an earthen den, a baby fox is born. The shifting seasons mark the fox’s growth: in spring, the little fox wonders when he can go outside; in summer, while hunting with his parents, he wonders when he can roam on his own. Finally, in fall, the little fox has learned to care for himself, and his parents send him off with sweet encouragement. Banks’ spare, sensory words include some sophisticated imagery (“burnished leaves”; a “bloated” sun) that will be a reach for some preschoolers. With lulling rhythms and poetic phrases, Banks reinforces the deeply reassuring tone: trees “sigh like a lullaby setting the world at ease” and “silence grows into a peaceable hum.” Illustrated with Hallensleben’s rich, thickly brushed scenes of the nurturing fox family exploring fields and woods, Banks’ gentle story sends a message that independence, whether for a fox or a child, is as natural and inevitable as the turning of the seasons. –Gillian Engberg