And Then I Read: RED FOX by Charles G. D. Roberts

Wonderful scratchboard illustrations by John Schoenherr.

It’s a welcome relief to escape into the lives of wild animals in these times, and this book from 1905 is an excellent example, as it follows the life of an exceptionally clever fox in the fields and forests of eastern Canada.

Even as a kit, Red Fox not only was larger and redder than his siblings, but his mind was equally superior. He makes mistakes, like tangling with a skunk, but learns from each one, as two of his brothers do not. There are farmers in the area, one of whom, Jabe Smith, is a crafty hunter and trapper, with a dog who delights in trailing Red Fox when he can, and the battle of wits between fox, man and dog is well told. There’s also a boy who wants only to befriend the wild animal, and learns more about him than Jabe. Most of the book follows the lives of the animals of the area, their interactions, rivalries, battles and the struggle to survive that is ever-present. Red Fox thinks he knows the answer to every problem, but sometimes trouble still finds him, and that’s the crux of the story. Unlike many animal tales, this one does not humanize the subjects, nor does it end with the main character’s death. Instead Red Fox is shown overcoming adversity in a new home in a way I found heartening.

Recommended. This reprint is from 1972, and should not be hard to find. Or try the link below.

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