The Fox in the Dark is the story of a rabbit who barely makes it back to snug little home after encountering a fox (in the dark). Rabbit is quite annoyed when a parade of other animals seek shelter from him, all on the run from the "fox in the dark." The twist comes when a tiny, lost fox cub knocks at the door, and has to be welcomed in, too, with mother fox not far behind.
While the plotline didn't strike me as original, I found the text of The Fox in the Dark to be quite nice for read-aloud. There are lots of exclamations, like this:
"BANG! goes the door and
CLICK! snaps the latch.
THUNK! goes the key and
SCRITCH! strikes a match.
And, "Phew!" Rabbit sighs.
"I've escaped! Not a scratch!
And I'm safe from that
fox in the dark."
This is just the sort of text for parents to read aloud with plenty of expression. The phrase "fox in the dark" is repeated throughout the book, giving kids a chance to chime in. Similarly, every time someone knocks on the door we hear "Rat-a-tat-tat!", which is also fun to say. My 2 1/2 year old daughter requests this book regularly ("I want rabbit - fox book"), and likes to chime in with "fox in the dark".
There's some little-kid-friendly humor, as when a small mouse is scared, and shouts "I need to wee!", followed on the next page by Lamb cleaning up Mouse's puddle. Rabbit's grouchiness (even as he shares his bed with all of the not so welcome guest) is also engaging.
I'm a bit more mixed on the illustrations. I quite like Allwright's animals, ranging from pathetic to cute. And I like the textured backgrounds that she uses, and the earth-toned colors. But she does this thing where some of the background is sketched in as outlines, such as chairs and a couch in Rabbit's house. And it's not clear whether these are meant to be imaginary (like, a couch would go here if this wasn't a Rabbit's den), or ... what, exactly. In other places, Rabbit's house does have three-dimensional furniture, so this is not even consistent. It's hardly the end of the world, and I still enjoyed the book, but I found this a bit distracting. Baby Bookworm, on the other hand, doesn't seem bothered by this at all.
Overall, The Fox in the Dark has been a nice addition to our stack of bedtime stories. I plan to try it paired with Don't Wake Up the Bear! by Marjorie Dennis Murray, too. Recommended for read-aloud to younger children, ages 3 to 5.
Publisher: Tiger Tales (@TigerTalesBooks)
Publication Date: September 1, 2012 (this paperback edition)
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2012 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).