LONGLIST REVIEW: The White Fox

Alone with his father who never seems to have time for him, Sol feels lost and lonely.  One day, when he returns from work at the docks, his father tells Sol about an Arctic fox-as large as life and twice as beautiful- living on the dockside.

Missing his family and his home, Sol feels an immediate connection with the fox and the need to make sure it is safe. When it is caught, the fox offers him a way back home, to reconnect with those he loves and to find himself once more. 

Filled with Jackie Morris's stunning illustrations, 'The White Fox' is a beautiful story which explores loss and bereavement. Skilfully told, with rich language choices, it would be perfect for working on with older children. Science work on interdependence and adaptation, habitats and environmental issues could all stem from this book.

The story could also be used for exploring feelings of being different- of feeling like an outsider. Sol's days in school are spent 'hiding from bullies' and when he eventually shares with his father what is happening at school, discussions could be had about why Sol doesn't want his father to speak to the principal.

The loss of Sol's mother and the way it has affected him, his father and his grandparents is skilfully handled. Sol's father worries about him and would like to take him to visit his grandparents, but his grief is too keenly felt there- it is easier to lose himself in the city. His guilt at her death, at having taken her away from her family and the homeland that she loved, are all feelings which can be discussed and explored. 

Being a Barrington Stoke title, 'The White Fox' has the additional benefit of being dyslexia friendly. However, it has all the challenge, depth and beauty you would expect from a quality fiction text. 

The White Fox    Jackie Morris  

Barrington Stoke   ISBN: 978-1781125229