Title: The Fox and the Fawn
Author: Daniel Derasaugh
Illustrator: Alicia Templin
Publication Date: August 5, 2012
Recommended Ages: 5+
Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son)
One foggy night, a little fawn wanders away from his mother and the safety of a quiet meadow in the middle of a thick, dark forest. From the shadows of the underbrush, a stranger approaches the lonely young deer, and with a seemingly gentle demeanor, lures the youngster into the woods with the promise of the most delicious strawberries in the forest. It is not long before the fawn begins to feel something is wrong, and in the depths of a gloomy gully, he is proven correct!
What follows is a thrilling, yet vital lesson in survival. Daniel Derasaugh presents an exciting and powerful story that is beautifully illustrated by Alicia Templin. Together they create a concrete example that any parent or teacher can use to explain to their children not only that they should never go with strangers, but also why.
1. What is the book about? This book is about a fox, a fawn, and the fawn’s Mom. The fawn was playing in a meadow and he found a scent he really liked. He followed it until he found a strawberry plant and he ate the last strawberry. Then a fox, who was watching every movement he made, came out and said he knew where there were the most red and juicy strawberries in the whole forest. So, he led the fawn there and there was a fallen tree and the fox said the strawberries were behind the tree. Then, a wolf jumped out and tried to chase him to eat him. The Mom came out and hurt the wolf and saved her baby.
2. What do you think of the pictures in the book? I really liked the pictures and it looks really cool how the pictures are grey and black; but, I also want to see what it looks like in full colour. Question for author/illustrator: can you do another version of the book in colour? [MOM: Oh dear…]
3. What is your favorite part of the book? My favorite part of the book is when the fawn gets saved by his mommy; because the fawn is cute and I didn’t want him to get hurt or die.
4. What did you learn from this book? I learned to never follow strangers which I already knew.
5. What would you do if you were playing on the sidewalk in front of our house and a stranger walked by and asked you to follow them? I would say “ok, but first I need to go to the bathroom”; then, I would go to my house and lock all the doors and then tell my Mom that a stranger was trying to take me. [MOM: Note to self … have another discussion about what to do if a stranger approaches you… sigh…]
6. Overall, what did you think about the book? I loved the book – it was extremely good and I want to read it every day! I want to give this book one thousand ten million infinity million thousand a hundred fifty stars, but my Mom won’t let me. She’ll only let me give 5.
7. Who do you think would like this book? I think everybody would like this book. I also think that deer, foxes, wolves, and turtles would like this book.
Son Rating: ★★★★★
My Thoughts: Something happened with this book that rarely happens. I read The Fox and the Fawn to my children and the very next night, my son requested to read it again. That doesn’t happen very often with picture books anymore. He LOVED it! And, I have to admit that it really captured my imagination as well.
With its harsh yet important message about “stranger danger”, The Fox and The Fawn reminded me of the old Aesop’s Fables that my mother used to read to me such as The Fox and the Grapes, The Ant and the Grasshopper, The Hare and the Tortoise, among many others. In this book and in Aesop’s Fables, the main characters are animals with distinct character traits who must learn an important life lesson. In the case of the fawn in the story, he must learn why his mother has warned him not to follow strangers.
I love how the tension built up in the story. The fox is so clever and uses compelling arguments which the fawn falls prey to (“What harm could a little fox do?” “We must hurry…Remember what happened because I waited?”) These are old tricks used by predators and provide good examples of the types of things a stranger may say to convince or pressure a young child to follow them. The fawn also provides a number of rationales as to why he is breaking his mother’s rule about following strangers (“He did seem nice and harmless enough.” “I sure don’t want to miss those strawberries!”). These are excellent teaching points for parents (or teachers) to share with their children.
Without giving away too much of the story, I will say that it all ends well and I appreciated the emotional reactions experienced by the fawn’s mother (anger, fear, relief) and the “lecture” she then gives to her baby. In particular, I think her final words clearly state the underlying message of the book:
“Not all strangers are bad…Most are very nice and friendly, but it can be hard to know. Some will hurt you if they can. It is up to you and me to make sure that they can’t.”
My son and I somewhat disagree about the illustrations. As seen above, he was hoping for a coloured rendition of the pictures. I, on the other hand, thought that the detailed pencil drawings were amazing and were completely appropriate for creating the mood of the book. The many shades of grey created an ominous feeling throughout the whole story. I LOVED THEM. Now, I know this is a children’s book and the children have to like the pictures; but, trust me – I talked them up! lol
My Bottom Line: Well, I just loved this book for its clear and important underlying message, the great tension-filled story, and the absolutely gorgeous illustrations. There’s a reason my son gives it “one thousand ten million infinity million thousand a hundred fifty stars”. I highly recommend The Fox and The Fawn for ages 4+.
* This book was provided to us by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest review. The author has also participated in MDBR’s Book Promotional Services. *
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