Book review of Maybe a Fox
The book Maybe a Fox has been on my shelf for a few years. Written by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee, it’s a book about coping with loss, seen from a childs perspective. The cover of the book drew me in and after reading the blurp on the back, I had to have it. I bought the book in a beautiful but small bookshop in Stamford, England.
Maybe a Fox
“Jules adores her older-by-one-year sister, Sylvie.
Sylvie: beautiful like their mother, supreme maker of tiny snow families, faster than fast.
Into thin air, Sylvie goes missing, and as Jules stumbles in grief, a fox cub is born. A shadow fox, spirit and animal in one. From the minute the cub opens her eyes, she senses something very wrong. Someone—Jules.
Jules: steadfast like their father, supreme maker of tiny snow foxes, collector of rocks.
The above text is borrowed from the Goodreads description albeit edited slightly.
Sisters and friends
Maybe a Fox is such a cute story about two sisters and their friends. They live in a remote area close to big woods and we meet them in wintertime. Jules and Sylvie have lost their mother a few years earlier, and were there when she died. The dynamic between the sisters feel very real and relatable, as they start off being in a small fight, well, Jules is angry with Sylvie. But when their dad is out and precious snow is falling one morning before school, they forget their quarrel. The sisters are into making small family figures out of snow and it’s a nice detail.
There is this dangerous river, wishing stones and friends from the other side of the river plus some local myths that all make for a great little plot. The relationships between Jules and her family and friends are definitely the base of the story, and the local myths and the wishing stones become just a part of their intertwining stories, which works nicely. It’s a story of sisters, coping with loss, in a world that hasn’t changed but at the same time it has. The magic is still there, but in other forms.
Maybe you turn into a fox
Spoiler alert – Maybe you turn into a fox when you die? The sisters have a game of “Maybe you turn into…” that they play when they miss their mother. When Sylvie is gone, we follow a newborn fox as well as Jules, and it’s done quite convincingly. Although the whole spiritanimal/reincarnation trope has been seen countless times before, it works within the setting.
All in all I think this is a nice middlegrade book about losing, coping with loss and finding your “new normal”. It’s poetic, slightly supernatural and magic, and it made me cry. It’s a solid, cute story and I like the way it was written, which was also a bit fragmented and in shorter sentences. Much like you’d expect from the thoughts of a child in that situation. Oh, and I love Jules’ obsession with rocks, she’s a cool girl.
I’ll definitely read this again!
Have you read Maybe a Fox or other books that deal with loss in some way? Let me know in the comments below if you can recommend a good book on the topic!
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