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One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller

by Kate Read

Book list Mixed media, collage, and paintings illustrate the tale of a sly and very hungry fox who's scouting out his next meal. The conceptual counting book takes readers from 1 to 10, building toward the anticipated end only to offer a surprise. Each of the numbers has a double-page spread with a brightly colored number placed over a short description: One famished fox is accompanied by an picture of a red fox curled into a circle, looking off the page seemingly thinking about what to eat. He decides on three hapless hens for his dinner, but things don't go as expected, and at the story's conclusion, he becomes one frightened fox. The large pictures are delightful the fox's coat and the hens' feathers are collages of many colors and textures and offer humor as well as great technique. Both white and black backdrops show off the vivid, clear colors, and the featured numbers appear in various quadrants on the pages. Teamwork wins the day, and youngsters will cheer on the ultimately fearless fowl.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus A hungry, sneaky fox silently approaches a henhouse and gets the surprise of its life.A farmyard serves as the setting for a counting book, with each numberone per double-page spreaddepicting how a ruddy, crimson fox with a long, flowing tail closes in on its prey. "1 / One famished fox." The fox curls on recto, pupils directed at the page turn. "2 / Two sly eyes." The fox's face dominates the verso, eyes focused on a single feather on recto. "3 / Three plump hens." The fearsome action builds and darkens as the fox's proximity increases until it is inside. "8 / Eight beady eyes" presents the shadowy outlines of three large hens with white worrying eyes looking at the fox's head, also shadowed, with white menacing eyes and sharp fangs. "9 / Nine flying feathers // 10 / Ten sharp teeth" gives the impression of a fatal conclusion. But turn the page, and amid the scurry and scuffle of feathers flying and hens running, strength in numbers prevails. "100 / One hundred angry hens" startle and chase away "1one frightened fox." In a manner reminiscent of Pat Hutchins' Rosie's Walk (1967), the intrigue and story arc are communicated visually while the counting progresses. Lovely, potent, brightly colored illustrations in a combination of textured collage and paint against white space transition to a dark, moonlit backdrop. Little ones will eagerly count in subsequent readings as they also learn new descriptive vocabulary and cheer for the brave hens.A classic scenario flips the script in this engrossing adventure. (Picture book. 3-5) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-K—This stunning "counting book thriller" features a hungry fox and tasty hens. Each number appears on a spread. For example, the words "1 famished fox" appears opposite a brilliantly colored fox curled in on itself, eyes peering off the page toward an as yet unrevealed prize. The count continues as the fox slinks forward, obviously lurking behind "3 plump hens" heading toward their hen house. The fox, its "4 padding paws" shown in the top half of a spread, follows. With "6 silent steps" it seems to engulf the hen house, its exaggeratedly long tail curled in the foreground. It knocks, and a page turn reveals the googily eyes of the three hens and their predator, whose sharp teeth flash in the dark interior. Feathers fly, the fox opens its wide mouth, and all seems lost until page turns provide welcome relief. Not three, but 100 "angry hens" chase the fox right back to being "1." Collage and paint in the mixed media illustrations create the various red-orange-gold hues of the fox's dazzling coat. White backgrounds give way to dark ones as the suspense builds. A striking double bleed depicts multicolored hens, their pursuit continuing onto the next page, where the fox appears as a tiny horizontal blur. VERDICT Just the right amount of tension, delicious vocabulary such as "sly," "plump," "famished," and "snug," and alliterative phrases make this a first purchase for group and one-on-one sharing. Count on requests for many readings.—Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly This clever “thriller” might sound like a familiar tale: hungry fox vs. unsuspecting hens. But Read’s playful twist on the story (akin to Pat Hutchins’s Rosie’s Walk) is also an amusing way to learn the numbers one through 10. It all begins with “one famished fox,” craftily curled with a roguish look on his face. A suspenseful tone is set as his “two sly eyes” spot “three plump hens” (comically wide-eyed and feasting on worms), and the fox hatches a devious plan, portrayed in dynamic collage illustrations that economically express layers of emotion and comedy against nighttime spreads. After the hunter’s “ten sharp teeth” make an appearance, things go sideways for the fox—and for the numerical order. This one wins for its subtle message of power in numbers. Ages 2–6. (Oct.)

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Horn Book As ‚€˜one famished fox‚€™ stalks ‚€˜three plump hens,‚€™ readers count from one to ten (plus one hundred at the end) in Read's pleasingly alliterative text. Opening spreads feature ample white space, accentuating the menace: the ‚€˜two sly eyes‚€™ spread shows the fox crouching on verso with a feather on recto. An inky black dominates as the tension builds (‚€˜five snug eggs‚€™; ‚€˜six silent steps‚€™); all ends well (unless you're the defeated fox). (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.