Author/Illustrator: Coralie Bickford-Smith
Age Group: 3-8
Synopsis: Fox’s world revolves are Star but what will he do when Star is no where to be found.
The Low Down:
The Fox and the Star came to us as a random pick up in the book store. I have to set limits for myself or else I end up trying to cram the entire children’s section in my carrier bag. So while I stood whittling down my selections I distracted myself by opening it up.The pages made me gasp and instantly I discarded something else in favor of it. With some truly amazing illustrations and a mature, touching story, it is a book that will be in our home library for years to come.
Fox is timid. He feels small when compared to the rest of the forest. However when Star is with him he can go anywhere and do anything. However, one evening Fox wakes up and Star isn’t there. Fox feels so alone and retreats to his burrow. One day he awakens, finally motivated to find Star. He asks everywhere but nothing in the forest knows where Star is. Finally Fox comes to a clearing and looks up. There he sees a host of stars twinkling down on him. He then goes home knowing that his star is up there looking down on him even if he can’t point it out exactly.
The story, told through light text and paired with delightfully expressive illustrations is easy to follow. The perspectives and imagery truly capture the weight of changing emotions that Fox feels throughout the story. Depicted in an approach that reminds me of traditional woodcuts and an extremely detailed adult coloring book, Bickford-Smith creates her own style that seems to sing on the pages. She does it with a fabulous attention to detail and a true dedication to her vision. The carefully chosen colors reveal themselves in bright whites and stark blues and blacks prior to Star’s departure and then transitioning to dull greys. The final pages revert back to the white colors allowing the reader to be gently aware of Fox’s feelings. Fox is one of the only colors in the book standing out with his bright orange coat, either appearing as only a glimpse between the trees or overwhelming a page with his emotion.
The story speaks to me about love, loss, and acceptance. Loss can be such a difficult topic to discuss with little ones but it is well presented by the author. Bug is still a bit young for such deep conversations. However, introductions to such topics are never out of place. So while he may relate to Fox only in that we occasionally misplace his favorite soft toy, it is still a brief and empathetic experience which will prepare him for years to come. I’m pleased that The Fox and the Star found its way to us; Bickford-Smith has given a beautifully remarkable gift to the world of children’s literature.
- Younger kids may have trouble following the complex patterns and designs on the pages so if they can’t follow the story don’t worry about it. Trace patterns with your fingers and play a game of find the star instead.
I need more!
This is Coralie Bickford-Smith’s debut book. She has done a good number of designs for classic book cover. Her website is: cb-smith.com/ but it doesn’t appear to always be up and running.
Add to my library:
UK Amazon:The Fox and the Star
US Amazon: The Fox and the Star