1/29/11

Foxes in fantasy books--a list of my favorites

For the last time in my life, I am blogging from my family home in Arlington, Va (it's been sold, which had to happen, but is still sad, and I'm down here for just two nights to frantically load a Uhaul full of things I want to take from it, both the useful and the sentimental). Outside the enormous window is a beautiful, snow-covered, woodsy garden, and, as often happens early in the morning, a fox just trotted by. I love watching foxes--they combine keen-ness and cuteness so perfectly, as they pad along briskly with pricked ears and bushy tales...(the fox above is someone else's picture, but it's very close to my own fox).

So in honor of all the fox sightings I've had from this window, here's a celebration of foxes in fantasy.

My favorite fantastic fox might well be Loki in fox form, in Odd and the Frost Giants, by Neil Gaiman (my review). Sharp, witty, snappish, smart--Gaiman's imagining of Loki as fox is just brilliant.

I loved the fox and the rat who are the proprietors of the derelict hotel in Departure Time, by Truus Matti (my review). In particular, it was a joy to watch the fox's cooking improve!

The character I cared most about in Reckless, by Cornelia Funke (my review), is a girl who spends most of her time in fox form. I so very much want for her to have a happy ending...


My foxophilia manifested again with Thief Eyes, by Janni Lee Simner (my review)--my favorite character was the talking fox, who plays a pivotal role in this story of two teenagers faced with the reality of one of the grimmest of the Icelandic sagas.

I picked up The Old Country, by Mordicai Gerstein (my review) purly because of its lovely fox cover! It's an evocative, fairy-tale-esque story of a girl shapeshifted into fox form, and (to a lesser extent) what happens to the fox shapeshifted into girl form.

Another girl in fox form story is Wild Magic, by Cat Wetherill (my review). Turned by Pied Piper into a fox, Marianna can see no way to become a girl again...unless her brother Jakob can find his way in to the land beyond, to save all the children of Hamlen town, and the piper himself...This is a rather good book, that never got much buzz.

In Sylvie and the Songman, by Tim Binding (my review) two children escaping from some very fantastical villains are taken under the paw of a friendly fox. I didn't care all that much for the book, but I did, as usual, like the fox very much!

The Daring Adventures of Penhaligun Brush is a fox fantasy I haven't read myself, but it's a favorite book of my older son's, and here's his review at his own blog. And just to be fair, when I asked my youngest if he could think of a fantastic fox, he suggested Reddy from the Old Mother West Wind books, a series he loves.

I suppose I have to mention Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Roald Dahl, even though I don't much like it...but I only read it once, and that was long ago....

And some day I will reivew a book I love, The Innkeeper's Song, by Peter Beagle, which has a magnificent fox character....

Any other great foxes of fantasy that I've missed? They don't have to be kids books.

11 comments:

  1. :sob!:
    I am going to miss that house, even only having visited once.

    I just LOVE that you've seen a fox!! That's wonderful. I only seem to see them in the snow around here.

    Be careful driving home! Hope the weather remains reasonable.

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  2. Ah I'm dreading the day when our family home is sold, that must be really hard (even though it's probably necessary but still the memories!)

    Seeing a fox would be very cool, they look like beautiful (and fun) creatures.

    My favorite fox (ok I've only read one book with a fox) is Other by Karen Kincy and it's paranormal! So it fits the theme of the blog-sort of. The guy, Tavian, is a kitsune which is a fox spirit. He's short, cute and nice and I learned a lot about Japanese fox spirits. It's a really good book :)

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  3. Thanks Tanita!

    Thanks for the recommendation, Ari! I've heard of Other, and will make a point of looking for it now.

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  4. I share your fascination with foxes and am grateful whenever I spot one. My favorite fox fantasy is Garry Kilworth's "The Foxes of First Dark," which has a bit of the flavor of "Watership Down." Fox culture - with its rituals, beliefs, and naming traditions - is beautifully imagined. One caveat: I wouldn't recommend the book as a MG read because of some sexual references. It isn't a big part of the book, but it is included as a natural part of fox life.

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  5. The fox from A Little Prince probably deserves a mention.

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  6. goodness- I don't remember that fox at all, Emily!

    And thanks for the recommendation, Anon! I will see if it's in my library system.

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  7. All I remember about that fox is he talks abstrusely way about things being ephemeral -- and maybe he's worried about being tamed? It's been years, and I read it French. Anyway, he's a fox, if not a satisfyingly foxy one, and the book is a fantasy, or at least not realistic, so there you go.

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  8. What about Broom-Adelaide by Barbara C. Freeman? I read that about the same time as the Carbonel books. My childhood libraries had everything!

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    1. Sadly, the library doesn't have that one, but I'll add it to my list of books to look for! Thanks for the recomendation!

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  9. Spirit Fox by Mickey Zucker Reichert, Jennifer Wingert is a personal favorite of mine. It's about a girl in an extremely conservative society which has spiritual connections to animals from birth. Her connection was broken leading to her harboring both her and the fox's spirit which occasionally turns her into a fox. Beautifully written and a little suspenseful.

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