PRINGLE, Laurence. The Secret Life of the Red Fox. illus. by Kate Garchinsky. 32p. further reading. glossary. Boyds Mills. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781629792606.
Gr 1-4 –Beginning on a snowy afternoon in February and ending in early autumn, this book centers on a fox named Vixen as she explores her habitat, hunts, runs from danger, and starts a family. This intimate and personal view into Vixen’s life is chronicled through a beautifully cohesive relationship between text and illustration. Facts and definitions are seamlessly woven into the narrative. When Vixen sniffs the air, readers learn that “a fox is a canine, related to dogs and wolves. Canines have super sensitive noses and ears. Vixen can smell faint odors and hear tiny sounds that a human would never hear.” Readers later witness a combination of Vixen’s senses put to use when she leaps and dives to capture a mouse hidden underneath a foot of snow. Conveying the intensity and precision of this specific hunt, the art, rendered with pastels and aqua crayons on sanded paper, also fuels the foxlike moments with emotion, from Vixen and her mate’s tender nuzzle to the curiosity and playfulness of her four kits. Additional facts are located in the back matter. VERDICT A rich reading experience awaits those who pick up this title about an animal that is not only currently trending in popular and kid lit culture (Disney’s Zootopia, Sara Pennypacker’s Pax) but is also a perennial favorite.–
This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2017 issue.