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story.lead_photo.caption (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/CELIA STOREY)

TITLE: One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller

BY: Kate Read (Peachtree Publishing, October), ages 2-6, 36 pages, $16.95 hardcover only.

STORY: One famished but fine-looking red fox uncurls from resting black-nose-to-fluffy-tail and goes on the hunt. Two sly eyes spot a chicken feather. Three plump hens blithely peck up three worms. Four padding paws slip through the night. Inside the dark and cozy coop, the hens nest with their five snug eggs, but they are not alone. There are six silent steps ... seven knocks at the door (and seven stars in the dark sky) ...

And then what? What happens?! Read piles up suspense as her shadowy hens freeze, eight eyes enormous, before the nine feathers fly. But 10 sharp teeth are not the end of this predator-and-prey narrative in which a hungry fox can't catch a break.

While they were horrified for the hens, of course, my little listeners were equally sorry for the poor fox.

Kate Read's compositions combine painting and collage using cut-up paintings so that the texture of brush strokes adds interest and movement (somewhat like Leo Lionni or Eric Carle). She lives in England and keeps chickens — so we know where her sympathy lies. One Fox is her debut as a writer and illustrator.

Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.

Style on 09/30/2019

Print Headline: READ TO ME

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