The Fox and the Forest Fire

Chronicle. Aug. 2021. 44p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781797202822.
PreS-Gr 2–This thoughtful picture book tackles the challenges humans and animals face when a natural disaster destroys their home. The story opens when a boy moves with his mother from the city to the forest. He’s not pleased with the change at first, but comes to embrace their new home as he explores the beauty of his natural surroundings and forms a bond with a wild fox. Rich illustrations, often splashed across two-page spreads, immerse readers in the wonders of nature. Delightful details, such as the child’s red beanie matching the fox’s fur, invite a closer look. Conflict arises when a forest fire encroaches on the boy’s newfound joy. Scenes of the family fleeing are mirrored by the forest animals’ escape from danger. The frightening concept of a devastating fire is approached with sensitivity; children will be reassured that although the family loses their home, they are safe, and the boy’s fox friend has survived too. The comforting themes of renewal and rebuilding are expanded upon in the author’s note, which shares information about how fires are a natural part of a forest’s growth cycle. This book will undoubtedly spark conversations about facing adversity, ecological awareness, and disaster preparedness.
VERDICT A timely topic is approached effectively for a young audience. A recommended purchase, especially as natural disasters become an increasingly frequent occurrence.

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