Published by Annick Press on October 11th 2016
Genres: Children's Picture Book
Meet Mr. Fox, who loves books so much that every time he finishes one, he eats it (with a little salt and pepper, of course)! His insatiable appetite drives him to seek more and more books, until one day, he discovers the local library, where he can “devour” books to his heart’s content. Eventually, the librarian catches him “sampling” from the collection and bans him from the library.Down on his luck, the crafty Mr. Fox must find other ways to satisfy his cravings. His attempt to rob the local bookstore, however, ends badly. Arrested for stealing, Mr. Fox lands in jail, where he discovers a surprising way to satisfy his literary cravings (and become rich and famous).With its deft combination of humor and whimsy, and bright, edgy artwork, The Fox Who Ate Books is a tongue-in-cheek approach to promote a love of books and reading. The ever-inventive, wily Mr. Fox is the perfect anti-hero whose antics are guaranteed to make young readers laugh, while the play on words will delight older children.
Fox is a book lover, but he also has an insatiable appetite for eating books. The bookworm in all of us can understand what Mr. Fox is going through, and even commiserate with him. However, I think the book lover in us would be appalled with Mr. Fox for gobbling up the books and causing them physical harm.
Mr. Fox’s appetite is so ravenous that he ends up selling everything he owns to buy more books to read and eat. Once he runs out of books and money, he turns to the library and eventually the corner bookstore to subdue his hunger. Unfortunately, he does not consider the consequences of his actions at each location and ends up in quite a bit of trouble. Luckily, reading and eating all those books might have given Mr. Fox the fuel he needs to write his way out of the trouble he ends up in.
Overall I enjoyed the story. I love Mr. Fox even though he is a bit of a rascal. Mr. Fox loves everything about books, from their smell to the feel of the pages, and I can totally relate to that sentiment. I’m pretty sure most young readers will enjoy cheering for Mr. Fox to find more books to eat, and for him to cause additional mischief. The author did not shy away from using bigger and harder vocabulary words, which I approve of. This is important as it can lead to a great teaching moment for younger and older readers alike. The illustrations though vivid and bright left were not aesthetically pleasing.
Although the end resolution wasn’t handled in a way I find appropriate for younger readers, I do believe there is plenty of positive messages in this book. There are many themes that can develop into great conversations with young readers. Such as the proper care of books, following library rules and all the places where books can be found. Another great message is to consider the consequences of your actions and the importance of not being greedy. Younger readers might even be inspired to write up their own stories, just like Mr. Fox does. Whether you read it to a group or by yourself, there is plenty of humor to be found in the story.