Author: Kathi Appelt and Allison McGhee
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Publication Date: March 8th, 2016
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel
Sylvie and Jules.
Jules and Sylvie.
Jules adores her older-by-one-year sister, Sylvie.
Sylvie: beautiful like their mother.
Sylvie: supreme maker of tiny snow families.
Sylvie: faster than fast.
Into thin air, Sylvie goes missing, and as Jules stumbles in grief, a fox cub is born. A shadow fox, spirit and animal in one. From the minute the cub opens her eyes, she senses something very wrong. Someone—Jules.
Jules: steadfast like their father.
Jules: supreme maker of tiny snow foxes.
Jules: collector of rocks.
Who is this Jules? Who is this Sylvie she cries out for? And why does the air still prickle with something unsettled? As that dark unknown grows, the fates of the girl Jules and the fox cub, laced together with wishes and shadowy ties, are about to collide.
What I Think: You know how sometimes you read a book and it touches your heart? This book touched my heart. It's a story of two sisters but it's also a story of family and love and what that love looks like.
As a mentor text, I love the description in this book. Kathi and Allison bring the characters and their emotions to life so well. One thing that really struck me about how they do this is that they seem to have a really strong sense of their characters. They share what is important to each of the characters. Their description is so specific and it really makes the story shine because of this. As we work on voice and showing in writing, looking closely at what we know about the characters in the book based off of their writing is a great activity for young writers - and even for me! Showing not telling is sometimes hard to describe and clarify for writers. Activities like writing what is in your main character's closet, what songs they have on their phone, who their best friends are. Knowing your character and bringing him or her to life is a great place to start or to focus on when adding voice and developing characters.
Read Together: Grades 4 - 6
Read Alone: Grades 4 - 7
Read With: See You At Harry's by Jo Knowles, Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Snatch of Text:
"...no matter how hard she tried, her memories of their mom grew smaller and smaller, each one folding in on itself, so that not even her 10x magnifier could see them." (p. 13)
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when something unexpected happened to you.
Topics Covered: Family, Friendship, Love, Loss, Courage, Determination
Kathi Appelt is the New York Times best-selling author of more than forty books for children and young adults. Her picture books include Oh My Baby, Little One, illustrated by Jane Dyer, and the Bubba and Beau series, illustrated by Arthur Howard. Her novels for older readers include two National Book Award finalists: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp and The Underneath, which was also a Newbery Honor Book. In addition to writing, Ms. Appelt is on the faculty in the Masters of Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in College Station, Texas. To learn more, visit Kathi’s website at kathiappelt.com.
Alison McGhee is the New York Times bestselling author of Someday, as well as Firefly Hollow, Little Boy, So Many Days, Bye-Bye Crib, Always, A Very Brave Witch, and the Bink and Gollie books. Her other children’s books includeAll Rivers Flow to the Sea, Countdown to Kindergarten, and Snap. Alison is also the author of the Pulitzer Prize–nominated adult novel Shadowbaby, which was also a Today show book club selection. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and you can visit her at AlisonMcGhee.com.
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*Thanks to Blue Slip Media for
a copy of Maybe a Fox in exchange for an honest review
and the opportunity to offer the giveaway above!*