Sunday, February 02, 2020
Scary Stories for Young Foxes, by Christian McKay Heidicker
I hadn't been reading as widely as usual last year, so there were a couple of surprises for me. But low and behold, I saw that Scary Stories for Young Foxes won a Newbery honor, and it was currently sitting in my backpack waiting to be read.
We start with a kite of foxes wanting some scary stories before bedtime, and their mom tried to offer up some old standbys, but the kits think they are all too sophisticated for the baby stories. Their mother gives them a stern warning -- not to go to visit the Bog Cavern where the old storyteller lives. If they do they will hear a story "so frightening it will put the white in your tail." As you can imagine, all seven kits eagerly wait for their mother to fall asleep (well, all are eager aside from the littlest one), and they make their way to the Bog Cavern, where they awaken the old storyteller and settle in for a scare.
What follows are seven intertwined stories playing upon the fears of young foxes everywhere. Trust is broken, family is questioned, health is compromised, traps are set, and a very famous author is taken to task.
Christian McKay Hiedicker has managed to translate the fears of children into the fears of the kits. So while the stories are scary, they are not truly frightening, because ... well ... foxes. But everyone can relate to being alone at night, being left behind, or suddenly fearing someone who had been trusted. What makes this book stand out more than anything, in my opinion, is the design. The parts taking place in the dens sport white text on black pages surrounded by thorny brambles, and small sketches are peppered through the text lending to the mood.
I am super happy to have something to hand to the kids who say, "But Stacy! I want something scary!"