An adorable children's winter story gently told with powerful lessons both for parents and their young ones.
Little Fox, Lost by Nicole Snitselaar, illustrations by Alicia Padrón
Translated by: Erin Woods
Published Sept 22, 2016
Hardcover, 32 pages
Content rating: G
Little Fox’s paw prints make such beautiful pictures in the newly fallen snow. Left here, right there, around that fallen branch—he scatters them throughout the forest until, too late, he finds he can’t retrace his steps back home. Lost and afraid, Little Fox wants to agree when a kind, old owl offers to fly ahead and guide him. But Mama Fox has warned him often: “If ever you are lost, my child, / don’t let a stranger guide you. / Be still and I will search the wild / until I am beside you.”
Little Fox and his mother come out of their den to go out for a walk on a sunny day after it had snowed all morning. Right from the beginning the setting in this book is perfect. A beautiful wintry day to explore the outdoors is what we as Canadians look forward to once fall is behind us. And what child can resist the lure of that sparkling snow in winter?
Little Fox is happy and his happiness is shown when he plays in the snow as his mother stops to chat with Mrs. Gray Fox. She tells him to stay close so he won't get lost. But Little Fox is full of wonder and he experiments with his footprints in the snow, bouncing about in different directions and sees the resulting pictures he's created. We can discern quickly that Little Fox is intelligent and loves to question and experiment. As is normal of any child, he inadvertently moves further away as he is caught up with what he is learning. It is at this moment that he realizes he is lost.
When Little Fox is found by an Old Owl who offers to help him, Little Fox remembers a song his mother sang to him about not following a stranger but instead staying still and waiting to be found. Both my son and I spontaneously broke into song as we read this part, making up out own version. This song appears several times throughout the text and we had fun singing it every time.
I love books that provide a song. Children seem to remember better when text is put to music. My son also likes drawings of foxes so he took to this story quickly. Little Fox is cute, with his pointy face and bushy tail. The illustrations are simple but adorable. They are in soft watercolor using soothing earth tone colors. Perfect for a gentle story for the young but with powerful lessons.
This book teaches four lessons: 1) for parents to always keep a watchful eye on their little one because it is very easy for them to wander off; 2) for parents to teach their children what to do when lost; 3) for children to stay in place and not follow a stranger, and 4) for children to use their skills to attract help, such as when Little Fox got the other animals in the forest to sing with him so their raised voices together would help his mother find him.
The translation from the original French version Petit renard se perd was well done. If the reader doesn't know it's translated, one can't tell that it is. The flow is good and the text appropriate for the age range. This book is an excellent addition to both a school and home library and could become a favorite, especially if a mother memorizes the song and sings it as she takes her child out with her on errands.
Disclosure: Thanks to Pajama Press for sending us this book for review. We were not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
About the Authors and Illustrator
A mother of 5, Nicole Snitselaar spent the last 20 years writing and singing songs and nursery rhymes - both for her own children and on recorded albums. Seven years ago she branched out to writing books for children and has since published more than 39 in both French and English.