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review 2019-03-21 18:32
‘Scary Stories for Young Foxes’ deserves to be an instant children’s animal book classic; a middle-grade novel draws inspiration from Poe and Lovecraft, and has a lot of heart
Scary Stories for Young Foxes - Christian McKay Heidicker,Junyi Wu

Life as a young fox is scary, with so much to learn about the dangers out there in the woods. Little foxes learn about these dangers from their mama, a masterful storyteller, or the hard way, by facing the world.

This beautifully-written and illustrated middle-grade book invites the reader to step inside the minds of little foxes, and embark on an adventure, full of the real-life challenges that they often face:

Nasty humans, vicious woodland creatures like the Golgathursh and badgers, and dangerous territorial foxes. And especially the harsh Winter.

This is a tale within a tale, and just like scary stories told around a campfire, it has elements of horror and delight. Not only is it precautionary for fox kits, like foxes Mia and Uly, readers will recognize the themes of friendship, family, bravery, and the drive to push ahead when life is difficult.


Author Christian McKay Heidicker has a way with words too, and through his writing he has conveyed a very vivid picture of woodland life, describing objects as a fox would see them, and creating new words for things that wouldn’t make sense to them. He also doesn’t shy away from the brutality of nature, from the cycle of life and death, and the struggle for survival against the most difficult of odds. The young foxes in his story face hunters, painful separation from family members, and gruesome injuries and death. Heidicker draws inspiration from classic authors Bram Stoker, Edgar Allen Poe, and H.P. Lovecraft, and weaves in a very well-known children’s book author into this very book; young readers who love a scary story will enjoy this, but it’s not for those who are easily upset by animals getting hurt or struggle with the harshness of nature.


The most wonderful part in my reading this (aside from enjoying the adventure and the amazing artwork by Junyi Wu) was how it reminded me of discovering books about animals in my childhood, such as ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ ‘The Wind in The Willows,’ and ‘Watership Down.’ I enjoyed these with my dad, and they fueled my love and compassion for animals. I expect many readers who will enjoy this book will be or are animal-lovers too, as Heidicker has embodied the curious and mischievous nature of foxes so well in this book, and it’s really hard not to love them because of it. This deserves to be a children’s animal classic!


**Thank so much to the editor, Christian Trimmer of Henry Holt Books, for my early copy and the chance to read and review this book.


Release date: 8.20.19




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text 2019-03-20 14:02
Reading progress update: I've read 150 out of 224 pages.
The Great Captains - Henry Treece,James Cawthorn,Michael Moorcock

as usual, many plots and betrayals being discussed back in Caerwent, while Artos the Bear has been off dealing with Gomer the Fox and the rest of the Picts. but some of the plotters, especially Aurelius Caninus, keep their counter-betrayals and final gambits to themselves. meanwhile, it seems Lady Gwenhwyfar has quietly arrived. She may not like what's been going on...


should finish this tonight. Yardie next, and then either Gone in Seconds, or The Girl on the Train.

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text 2019-03-20 00:32
Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 224 pages.
The Great Captains - Henry Treece,James Cawthorn,Michael Moorcock

turning out to be a satisfying break from Crime & Mystery, and I especially like the supernatural touches that show themselves every now and then.

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text 2019-03-19 14:04
Reading progress update: I've read 28 out of 224 pages.
The Great Captains - Henry Treece,James Cawthorn,Michael Moorcock

so I have met the Count of Britain, Ambrosius, and his scheming protege Medrodus, as they navigate a tricky marshland, argue and issue each other veiled threats, and deal with the sudden appearance of other wary travellers. a strong start.

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text 2019-03-18 18:46
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
History of Tom Jones, a Foundling - Henry Fielding

The past few weeks I haven't had much time for reading, but I manage to sneak in a few minutes here and there. I've made it to 20%, and still enjoying this tremendously.


I realized, however, that I'm not really reading it.  I'm listening to Henry Fielding telling the story, reading it aloud as it were to his eager listeners.  I'm not sure whose voice he has -- perhaps Patrick Stewart or John Rhys Davies -- but I hear every word, with all the extra commas for dramatic effect, with all the non-quotations inside quotation marks, as though he started to tell me what she/he said and then actually quoted them.


This is not a book that should be read by anyone learning how to write a novel.  It is definitely a book to read by everyone learning how to tell a story.

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