Thursday 22 August 2019

Fox & Bird

Fox & Bird by Edwina Wyatt and Alice Lindstrom published by Little Hare Books, 2019. ISBN 9781760501464 Hardback 32pp RRP: $24.95

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Fox & Bird is a picture book that explores the dynamics of friendship. We all want to fit in and belong with our friends but at what personal cost? Within a friendship we each have roles. Sometimes one friend can try and please the other by doing whatever is asked of them just like Fox & Bird. Would you rather be lonely or be a friend-pleaser so that you do have a friend? This is a subtle way of exploring bullying. Both Fox and Bird do things that they are not proud of. Fox & Bird has a beautiful simplicity with many layers of meaning.

Both Fox and Bird experience loneliness and power-play within their friendship. When their friendship positions switch, both experience what the other one did. Fox gains self-assurance and finally says ‘no!’ when Bird goes too far with her requests. Bird then feels the same loneliness that Fox did. Although it seems they are good friends, in the end I was left wondering if they really were.

The illustrations in this book beautifully reflect the mood and tone of the story. The use of different shades of greens, pinks and orange depict the playground of their friendship. The facial expressions of both Fox and Bird show who is dominant and who is submissive at that point in the story. I particularly liked the use of Fox’s reflection in the water as it highlights Fox’s growth as a character and the strength found in saying no. The delicate flower work on each page is soft and exquisite and shows the lighter side of friendship in comparison to the greens that reflect the darker side. A closer observation reveals artwork that supports the narrative beautifully.

This book allows children to explore how they want a friendship to be and shows that they have the power within to create a friendship they are happy with. This book will appeal to all ages and each reader will have their own response to the story. This is a book that I would recommend highly for its powerful messages.

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