Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt & Alison McGhee | SLJ Audio Review

redstarAppelt, Kathi & Alison McGhee. Maybe a Fox. 4 CDs. 3:30 hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9781442394353. digital download.  Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt

Gr 4-6 –Eleven-year-old Jules and her 12-year-old sister Sylvie are very close and dependent on each other, especially since their mother died when they were very young. So when Sylvie suddenly disappears and is presumed dead, Jules and her father are left to cope with her absence and their lives “after Sylvie.” At the moment of Sylvie’s death, an unborn fox receives her spirit and is born a “kennen,” an animal who has been sent to help a human. In alternating chapters—Jules’s point of view written by Appelt and Senna the fox’s by McGhee—seemingly unrelated pieces of the plot, such as Jules’s fascination with rocks, her neighbor Elk’s grief over the loss of his best friend, and Sylvie’s need to run faster, are woven together against a magnificent background of forest and river. This is a book of maybes, of what might be, of possible sightings of rare animals, of mysticism and dreams of what might have been. Although there is an underlying tone of tragedy, McGhee reads with great gentleness and warmth, enfolding listeners in the sadness, anger, hope, and strength of the characters. The result is a thought-provoking and moving book that captivates and tugs at the heartstrings. VERDICT Highly recommended for intermediate and middle school collections. [“Both raw and hopeful and [a book] that readers won’t soon forget”: SLJ 1/16 starred review of the S. & S./Atheneum book.]–MaryAnn Karre, Binghamton, NY

This review was published in the School Library Journal May 2016 issue.

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