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Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke


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Gr 1-3‘A family of fox kits, left to fend for themselves when their mother sets off on a trip to Florida, plot to ``...filch fowl from the farmyard.'' Between 4:15 and 5:15 a.m., they make three unsuccessful forays, winding up on the short end of the stick whether dealing with feathered fowl, a ferocious foxhound, or a furious farmer. Fortunately, their Francophile brother, Fosdyke, has stayed at home and prepared a delicious meal of flan, french fries, and figs. The foxes, whose expressive faces fade from bright-eyed mischievousness to frazzled chagrin, are engaging characters, and the nighttime scenes of the farm are effectively noir, but the device of using so many ``F'' words wears thin well before the story does. The sound gag will also make reading the book aloud a formidable tongue-twisting task. Young browsers may enjoy looking for the 60-plus items beginning with the letter ``F.'' Or, they may just become frustrated.‘Anna DeWind, Milwaukee Public Library

A fox who flambées and fillets? Unfeasible? Not according to this alliterative tale, which introduces chef Fosdyke and his four siblings: Frank, Floyd, Freddy and Flo. When the quintet's mother scurries off for a five-day trip to Florida, all the young foxes but Fosdyke decide to ``filch fowl from the farmyard'' for food. But on repeated raids of the henhouse (conducted on February 4 at the F-filled times of 4:15, 4:45 and 5:15 a.m.), they come up empty-pawed. Fortunately, an apron-clad Fosdyke has prepared a feast of fries, fungi, fish and figs, which his siblings warm to after their final failure at fetching fowl. (``What fascinating flavors,'' they cry.) Cole's (illustrator of Some Small Slugs, also by Edwards) ink and pastel illustrations of masked foxes, egg-throwing chickens and bandaged tails add a healthy dose of energetic humor to the tongue-twister text. The book also offers a challenge‘``How many objects beginning with the letter `F' can you find in this book?''‘for those who feel finding F's is fantastically fun. Ages 4-9. (Sept.)

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