CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 5 . . . .October 27, 2006
The Quick Brown Fox Cub. (Red Bananas).
Julia Donaldson. Illustrated by Lucy Richards.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2006.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (RLB).
ISBN 0-7787-1096-3 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-1080-7 (RLB).
Adventure and adventures-Fiction.
Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.
Review by Robert Groberman.
One morning, when the foxes were waiting by the front door for the fox milk to arrive, Frisk noticed a paper thing sticking out of the silly high-up fox flap. He pulled it out.
“What’s this?” he asked, but for once Mom didn’t know.
“Look! There’s a picture of the magic box on the front!” said Frisk. He looked inside and saw a lot of pictures and writing.
“I can read this!” he said proudly. But most of it was boring stuff about people.
The Quick Brown Fox Cub is a “Red Bananas” series book by Julia Donaldson. Like all books in this series, it is intended to help children move from the first stages of reading to early chapter books. This book allows for this movement well. It is a short (48-page) chapter book which is illustrated throughout.
The illustrations are by Lucy Richards, and they are both colourful and detailed. There is a colour picture on every page, and more than half of the pages are laid out like a picture book with the page fully-illustrated and just enough text on the page to describe the illustration on which it is set. The frequent use of word balloons in the illustrations is also fun for children, and they help early readers to follow the story.
The Quick Brown Fox Cub is the story of Frisk, the fox cub, his mother, brother and sister. They move from the country to town to avoid hunters. In their new home, Frisk wanders off from his family in the daytime, when he should be sleeping, to explore a house and a school. At the house, he learns about t.v. and befriends a little girl. When he follows the little girl to school and watches her lessons, he learns to read, a skill which will come in handy for him later in the story. Children will enjoy the fox cub’s bewilderment with town objects and situations. He thinks cars are hunters, “[g]reat big ones with round legs.” When he discovers television, he is confused by the fast-changing pictures and is surprised to see “The rabbits changed into a man.”
This is a simple story about a fox coming to live in an unfamiliar environment. His eagerness to explore is what makes the story interesting, and the colourful illustrations, which closely follow the text, make the book inviting for children.
Robert Groberman is a grade one teacher at David Brankin Elementary School in Surrey, BC.
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