Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith was recently honored with the Waterstones 2015 Book of the Year Award.  Waterstones, a British book retailer, relies on their booksellers to nominate a book that they believe “caught the imagination,” “truly [stood] out, in any genre,” and that “will charm those who love reading and love books.”  Beating out a variety of deserving works, even a quick scan of The Fox and the Star will prove its worth. 

This children’s book was written by a designer at Penguin Books.  Bickford-Smith undeniably puts her design and illustration skills to work, offering readers an artistic delight.  The illustrations are simple yet, grand and detailed with their ink and wood block print style.  The images are reminiscent of an artistic period known as the Arts & Crafts Movement, specifically William Morris’s foliage patterns.  The colors are simple, yet complementary, shades and hues of orange and blue, with a touch of neutrals.  This artistic treatment allows the reader to feel the emotions of Fox while also playing on the natural and woodland setting of the fable.

Blackthorn, William Morris, 1892,
block-printed wallpaper

Fox lives in the forest, his only companion Star.  He relies on star, perhaps a little too much, and is lost when Star is no longer shining down on him.  Fox hides away for a time, unsure of what to do, who to ask, and where to find Star.  Eventually his yearning for his friend leads him out of his den and on the search for Star and his whereabouts.  A lesson is learned when Fox goes out of his comfort zone, and instead of his specific Star, an entire sky glistening with celestial beings is revealed. 

Fox is told “…look up beyond your ears…”  The Fox and the Star teaches a lesson about holding on to things too tightly and making sure that the things you’re holding on to aren’t holding you back.  A fable written about friendship, growth, and overcoming fear and loss, it conveys a message about moving forward and growing up. 

Search for The Fox and the Star in the VBPL Catalog.  Other books that share visual similarities include:

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson

Review by Madelyn K.

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