Title: Little Fox in the Forest
Author: Stephanie Graigin
Illustrator: Stephanie Graigin
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books
Publication Date: February 28th, 2017
Genre/Format: Wordless/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: A wordless picture book in which two friends follow a young fox deep into the woods and discover a wondrous and magical world.
When a young girl brings her beloved stuffed fox to the playground, much to her astonishment, a real fox takes off with it! The girl chases the fox into the woods with her friend, the boy, following close behind, but soon the two children lose track of the fox. Wandering deeper and deeper into the forest, they come across a tall hedge with an archway. What do they find on the other side? A marvelous village of miniature stone cottages, tiny treehouses, and, most extraordinary of all, woodland creatures of every shape and size. But where is the little fox? And how will they find him?
What I Think: I'm such a fan of wordless picture books, in fact I've blogged about my favorite wordless picture books before and now I can add Little Fox in the Forest to the list. This book reminded me a bit of Aaron Becker's Journey and Mo Willem's Knufflebunny Free but with it's own story and certain charm. I absolutely love how the story goes from shades of blue and white to vibrant color.
I've decided the story sits perfectly in the realm of picture book magic. As I'm thinking about this, Please Bring Balloons by Lindsay Ward comes to mind too. Please Bring Balloons, Journey, and Little Fox in the Forest are stories where kids go off on adventures and then come back to their reality at the beginning...but something is just a bit different. It's picture book magic! It's the moment of knowing it was all in the character's imagination...except for that one element that made it back into their "real" world. I love this. This is a perfect example of how a book can elicit different responses from different readers. I think younger kids might accept the story as a story but older students can start to think about what exactly this idea of picture book magic is all about and how it might even connect with their own lives.
As a mentor text, wordless picture books are a wonderful way to get writers started. Using the story as inspiration, writers can describe one drawing or tell the entire story. The great thing is the story is there, we just have to find the words to bring it to life. As a close read, wordless picture books are perfect for finding evidence to support your thinking. There are so many ways to interpret what's happening in the story and students can think about using evidence to defend what they have inferred from the illustrations.
Writing Prompt: Write about what similarities and differences you notice between Little Fox in the Forest and Journey and/or Please Bring Balloons.
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