Review: The Fox and the Ghost King

Cover of The Fox and the Ghost KingWhat do you get when you cross foxes with football and the ghost of King Richard III?

Give up?

Well, I’ll tell you. You get Michael Morpurgo’s The Fox and the Ghost King, that’s what. It’s a pretty odd sounding combo, I know, but the result is a really sweet against-the-odds, underdog (or should that be underfox?) story.

It’s a little bit of fairy-tale blended with a little bit of history, and a whole lot of pluck.

Cover of The Tale of Jemima PuddleduckI don’t know any foxes personally, but think they have a bit of a bad rap. They are usually portrayed as villains – the Sandy Whiskered Gentleman in Jemima Puddleduck, for example.  But they are so darn cute, I’m sure they don’t really deserve it, do they? The fox family in this story are definitely on the cute side, anyway.

What I didn’t know about foxes is that they are football fans. And no matter where they live, their favourite team is Leicester City, otherwise known as The Foxes (naturally). Now, what I didn’t know about foxes is far surpassed by what I didn’t know about football. I know now that Leicester City have long been the underdogs of the Premier League, till in 2015-16 when a little bit of magic turned things around for them. This bit of the story really is true. The other bit of truth in the story is the discovery of Richard III’s body – under a carpark if you recall.

The magical bit is the way that Michael Morpurgo weaves these threads together, telling the tale through the eyes of a cute and cheeky little fox cub. Odd combo it may be, but it definitely makes a fabulous read for a small person.

Further reading

Cool stuff from the selectors: Children’s books

Egg9780062408730

This masterful and stylistically original picture book introduces young children to four eggs. One is blue, one is pink, one is yellow, and one is green. Three of the eggs hatch, revealing three baby birds who fly away. But the green egg does not hatch. Why not? When the three birds return to investigate, they re in for a big surprise! What will happen next?

Other Wordly

A lovely wee book of illustrated strange words from around the world such as : “Komorebi” from Japan which means the sunlight that filters through the leaves of the trees, or from English “Bibliothecary” meaning one who collects, maintains, or cares for books. I also like “Cwtch” which is Welsh for a hug or a cuddle but is also used for the space under the stairs.

Sniffer & Tinni9781454918707

Best friends who live in Norway. Sniffer is a wild fox and Tinni is a German Shepherd. In this simple non-fiction book, stunning photographs show how they spend their time together.

Illuminature9781847808868

Three images of different animal habitats on one page. Using the viewing lens you will see the daytime animals, the environment or the night animals jump out from the page. It also contains a species guide for each animal you discover.

Book Eating as a Pastime

cover of The Incredible Book Eating BoyWorking in libraries allows you to have some pretty interesting work stories. My top one for this week was a small boy with a problem that involved library books and bedtime snacks.

A mother came to me holding the hand of a very worried looking two year old. She whispered to me : “We need a stern face please”. So, I tried to look stern. I can do perplexed, amused and just plain crazy, but stern is one look I’m not good at. She talked him through an apology to me and then explained.

Little Timmy had decided that eating books was a good thing and his parents just could not figure out why. It suddenly dawned on them that Timmy had spent the week before reading The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers. He certainly took to heart the initial joy of eating books, but as his mother and I decided, his two year old mind had failed to digest the moral at the end, which suggest reading is the best way to absorb the contents of a book.

damage to bookWhich begs the question, could and do children get led astray by other books and their dark conspiratorial messages?

Think of the havoc if your young one took Lets Make Mud to heart on the shag pile, or Big Brothers Don’t Take Naps when particularly cranky, or even We’re Going on a Bear Hunt? Then there is Hop on Pop  – Pop may not be pleased. Or perhaps Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus  would be a problem for a child such as my youngest once was. You know the kind, the ones who insist on doing the direct opposite of anything you may suggest.

But you just know for sure, they would not take to heart Shhh! by Sally Grindley.

Got some dangerous books you can think of?

Kids’ Books: picks from our latest newsletter

Some picks from our December Kids’ Books newsletter:

Cover: a Dog is a DogCover: Lulu and the Duck in the ParkCover: Who Could That Be at This Hour?Cover: SpaceheadzCover: The Ghost TeacherCover: Ivy + Bean Doomed to DanceCover: Iron Hearted VioletCover: DinosaursCover: Pinocchio

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Have you read any of these books? If so, we’d love your feedback!

Picture books: picks from our latest newsletter

Some picks from our October Picture books newsletter:

Subscribe to our newsletters and get our latest titles and best picks straight from your inbox.

Kids’ books: picks from our latest newsletter

Some picks from our October Kids’ books newsletter:

Subscribe to our newsletters and get our latest titles and best picks straight from your inbox.