Brief summary: Fox walks around in the forest where he grew up but is confused to find it replaced by another forest which is foreign and unsettling . The lonely fox remembers when he was a kit in the same area as he looks for food and family members but only finds creatures who stand on their legs for a long time. Fox discovers a new long burrow that connects the concrete urban area to a grassy wildlife preserve where he is reunited with his family.
Comments: I believe this book should be a Caldecott contender. Faraway Fox has a very moving story with illustrations that perfectly compliment the somber mood throughout the book and then a change of colors upon the happy conclusion. The colors match the feelings of the fox as the story progresses. Yes. It is painful at the beginning as we relate to the loss the fox experiences but has a joyous ending which, personally, caused me to have a mixture of both happy and sad tears as I thought of other animals who find themselves in similar situations. We all have seen evidence around us of animals losing their habitats. This is a book we must read with our children even if it sparks difficult questions and emotions.
There is an author’s note explaining Jolene Thompson’s inspiration of writing the story when her youngest son questioned about why there were so many wild animals in their neighborhood. There is also a discussion of human encroachment on wildlife habitats and ways organizations are trying to improve the lives of animals.
If you use this as a read-aloud with very young children, you may need to be prepared to talk about habitats and conservation. This is a book which can be read with all age groups including adults to start thought-provoking discussions about cohabitation, wildlife preservation, and other similar ecology topics. Since we all can understand the fox’s confusion and relief to finding his family again, I believe this is one of those books we will remember for many years in our hearts.
(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program. Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).