Reynard the Fox: Tales from the life of Reynard the Fox

minedition. Oct. 2020. 80p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781662650062.
Gr 2-5–In this telling of a classic fable, Reynard the fox is summoned to the court during peacetime for his crimes against the other animals. The cunning fox has tricked and injured countless animals who tell their tale before the king. When Reynard finally appears to share his side of events, he once again outwits those he encounters. The afterword is where this story should begin, as it provides a fascinating history of the origin of the featured creatures, from the time of Aesop up until this modern German retelling. The text is definitely for more advanced and mature readers, as it is full of rich and difficult vocabulary and graphic violence, including beheadings and beatings. Some of the illustrations may also be frightening or disturbing to some readers; however, they are simultaneously striking and vivid depictions that fit the story well. While the animals crowd the court, telling of the horrific pain Reynard has inflicted on them, it is Reynard’s version of events that offers an important lesson, as fables do. Reynard’s tales reflect the duality of every experience and demonstrate that a clever mind is often the most powerful weapon.
VERDICT While potentially upsetting to some readers, lovers of classic tales and their often gruesome elements will thoroughly enjoy this take.

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