Nov 12, 2009

Red Fox

by Charles G.D. Roberts

Reading Red Fox was nostalgic for me. I can't remember where I first picked this book up, at my elementary school library or the Burien public branch. I do know I must have read it half a dozen times when I was young. It's out of print now, but I was happy to find a copy via Book Mooch and read it one more time.

The book tells the lifestory of a fox in the Canadian woods. It is based on observations of wild foxes, many true-life incidents all complied into one adventurous story. The hero of Red Fox is the largest of his litter, stronger, braver and smarter than the rest. He learns survival lessons and hunting skills from his mother, also from his siblings' blunders and his own mistakes. He must outwit his prey, deal with changing weather conditions and confront or avoid other predators- mink, lynx, eagles, bears, rival foxes. By the time he is an adult he knows how to outwit dogs and farmers, but then a young boy who has been quietly watching him helps trap the fox and tries to tame him. That failing, he sells the fox, thinking the animal will be taken to a zoo. But Red Fox is let loose on the grounds of a foxhunting club, where he must use all his wits against the hounds if he wants to gain his freedom again. The story ends a little abruptly, but otherwise I enjoyed it. Some passages jumped out from my memory, others I had entirely forgotten and that made reading it anew a discovery all over again. The pen-and-ink illustrations by John Schoenherr are quite nice.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 187 pages, 1972

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