Monday, March 6, 2017

Little Fox in the Forest, by Stephanie Graegin -- a charming story celebrating a child's imagination (ages 3-8)

Children love playing with stuffed animals -- mine would play "stuffie school" for hours and hours. I adore the new wordless picture book Little Fox in the Forest for the way it honors a child's love for her stuffed animal, bringing magical life to her imaginative world.
Little Fox in the Forest
by Stephanie Graegin
Schwartz & Wade / Random House, 2017
preview on Google Books
Amazon / your local library
ages 3-8
A young girl is drawn into a magical world of animals when she chases the fox that steals her stuffed animal. When a little girl stops to play at a park and leaves her stuffed animal in her backpack, a real fox snatches it away! She chases after the fox, running into the forest with her friend. Artist Stephanie Graegin tells this story in wordless panels, much like a graphic novel.
This story works well with a range of ages precisely because it is wordless; children can tell the story with as much detail as they want. Graegin controls the pacing of the story by varying the size of the panels, using larger panes to let readers soak in details and multiple smaller panes to move the action along briskly. Muted colors in the beginning help the reader seek out the fox hiding in the bushes.
When the fox darts through a doorway in the forest, readers glimpse the brightly colored world on the other side. The two young children follow, entering a magical land of animals. Graegin's animals are adorable, reminding me of the Calico Critter toys my children loved.
This whimsical story will appeal to children steeped in their own imaginative worlds. They will be drawn into the detailed scenes, especially in the enchanted village. The resolution, where the young girl and the fox exchange favorite stuffed animals, brings its own sweet charm to the story.

If you want a little extra fun for your day, I especially enjoyed reading the interview "Little Fox Speaks Out" over at The Children's Book Review. Here's a snippet to tempt you:
The Children’s Book Review: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Little Fox: Exploring the forest, you never know what you will find!

The Children’s Book Review: I see you have a bag with you. Will you tell us what you keep inside of it?
Little Fox: Crayons, a sketchbook, and my pumpkin seed snacks. Everything I need to go on my journeys.
For those of you with a more serious side, definitely read the in-depth interview Stephanie Graegin had in 2014 with Jules over at Seven Impossible Things.  You'll read all about Stephanie's journey through art school and her path to publication.

Illustration © Stephanie Graegin, shared with permission from the publisher. The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Schwartz & Wade / Random House. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2017 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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