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The Picture Book Buzz

The Fox Wish - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

First and foremost, the winner of Renato and the Lion is - Elaine Eiden Asaidali. Congratulations, Elaine.

Now onto this week's post:

Who hasn't had a wish? But how many of us have had a wish come true? Did you get exactly what you wished for or just what you happened to need? Wishes, like fortune cookies, can be fickle creatures. Coming to fruition when they choose and in the manner they determine. And sometimes in the most unexpected way.

Perhaps that's why the cover, with two kids watching foxes jumping rope, enthralled me. The title made me wonder if the kids were wishing to meet or play with a fox. Turns out the wish was very different. The surprise of the first wish and the twist ending makes this book so fun to read again and again.

The Fox Wish

Author: Kimiko Aman

Illustrator: Komako Sakai

Publisher: Chronicle Books (2017)

Ages: 2 - 5



Animals, friendship, wishes, and the magic of childhood.

Synopsis (From Barnes & Noble):

This charming story follows two children who go looking for their jump rope and discover that a group of foxes have claimed it as an answer to their wish. With beautiful, classic illustrations and lyrical text, here is a subtle, sensitive piece of magic that proves to sisters, brothers, and foxes alike that the trusted familiar often lives right next to the truly extraordinary—if only you have the eyes to see it.

Opening Lines:

It was right in the middle of snack that I remembered.

I'd left my jump rope at the park!

"Where are you going?" Lukie asked.

"I have to go," I told him. "You can come, too."

What I like about this book:

The last of line of the synopsis sums it up - the extraordinary is out there if you take the time to look. Recently leaving Yellowstone, we stopped for a mama elk. If we had dashed passed, we would have missed her functioning as a traffic guard - shepherding 3 other mothers and 6 small calves across the road. It was magical. The questions asked by the cover (Have you ever held the hand of a kid smaller than you? Have you ever talked to a fox?) set the stage for the magic to come.

Returning to the park to find her forgotten jump rope, Roxie, and her younger brother, Lukie, stumble upon a bunch of young foxes trying to jump rope. Unfortunately, foxes have tails.

Once Roxy and Lukie show them how to keep their tails up, everyone enjoys playing together.

When the game winds down. Roxie notices her name on the handle of the jump rope. As she moves to gather up the rope, the smallest fox claims it's hers. Her name is also Roxie and earlier she wished for "a game to play" and then found the rope hanging "from a branch" with her name on it. She's convinced her little wish came true.

Shushing her brother, Roxie surrenders the rope to the little fox, suggesting that maybe they could play together again. "I'll wish for it," responds the fox. Racing her brother home in the golden glow of the sunset, Roxie tells Lukie, "I like watching wishes come true." As the two kids dash home, the book closes with - "Then I wished to race him home, and he wished to win."

The acrylic and pencil illustrations, lend a gentleness to the narrative making this a perfect book for snuggling. The illustrations are reminiscent of older, treasured golden books. Underneath these gorgeous illustrations and magical game of jump rope, lies a subtle undercurrent of sharing and trust.

Related activities:

- games with jump ropes:

- make a child's wish come true. Make A Wish Foundation; book drive (at school/bookstore); donate clothing, shoes, coats, books, school supplies to an organization helping foster kids; etc.

- read about foxes or visit a zoo and observe foxes. Or if you're lucky enough to live where foxes have their dens, watch the kit's antics (from a distance).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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