“A counting book made for children but sure to thrill even the adult reader. ”
There are not many counting books that declare themselves to be “thrillers,” but such is the proclamation of One Fox, and it is true to its word. While by the counting title one might first expect this to be a simple board book, instead of the picture book form it is, it’s clever development is better suited for—indeed relies on—an audience with the emotional maturity to understand the different feelings created by the story: foreboding, apprehension, suspense, comic relief. Readers will be especially shocked when it appears the “one famished fox” has actually eaten the “three plump hens.” Read’s gorgeous illustrations done in collage style with mixed media bring a playful and captivating style to the story, as in the scene when the fox’s long body and enormously bushy tale are depicted encircling the hen house, producing an absolutely ominous feeling in readers. Employing few words and relying mostly on the illustrations to tell the story, it is disappointing that with only numbers one through nine to account for, “eyes” are used in two different instances: “Two sly eyes,” and later “Eight beady eyes,” though in the latter instance it is funny to compare the three set of concerned eyes belonging to the hens with the one set of excited fox eyes. A delightful culmination is provided by the juxtaposition between the impression that the hens have been eaten with the shocking reality that in fact the hunted have become the hunters.
One famished fox with two sly eyes is on the prowl… three plump hens had better watch out! Rich and colorful illustrations plunge the reader into a dramatic and exciting story set in a moonlit farmyard. With something different to find on each page, learning to count from one to ten has never been so thrilling! This is a gripping tale with a hugely satisfying ending that’s sure to delight generations.
Kate Read, the author and illustrator of the book, makes it look like maybe the fox has eaten the hens. Did you think it had?
In an ironic twist, the fox gets chased away by the hens. What did you like about the ending of the story?
While a counting book with just a few words (some more advance vocabulary) on each page, the illustrations and counting combine to make a fun story that’s paired with beautiful illustrations. It does feel rather short and light on text to be a picture book.
To Ella, Alice and Harriet, my fierce little chicks and Jack, Ruth and Rebecca, the best friends a girl could have. Love always, Kate x