Book review: “FOX 8” lingers, in the best way

How was this published in 2013 and somehow I never heard of it?  Categorized as satire, literary fiction and in some circles, children’s fiction, and who knows what else, this petite book surprised me in the best possible way.   

It’s so good,  I’m struggling to return it to the public library.

“Fox 8” is a short story told by a funny, daydreamer fox who learns to read and speak “Yuman” by listening to parents read bedtime stories to their children as he sits outside their window.

Here’s how it begins:

Dear Reeder:

First, may I say, sorry for any werds I spel rong. Because I am a fox! So don’t rite or spel perfect. But here is how I learned to rite and spel as gud as I do!

One day, walking neer one of your Yuman houses, smelling all the interest with snout, I herd, from inside, the most amazing sound. Turns out, what that sound is, was: the Yuman voice, making werds. They sounded grate! They sounded like prety music! I listened to those music werds until the sun went down, when all of a suden I woslike: Fox 8, crazy nut, when the sun goes down, werld goes dark, skedaddle home, or else there can be danjer!

Fox 8, George Saunders

When the extended fox family members learn about Fox 8’s impressive skills, the elder fox convinces him to help the pack.

Chelsea Cardinal’s artwork is complete perfection alongside Saunders tale. I can’t talk about “Fox 8” without mentioning how her simple, minimalist art truly complements the story.

I wouldn’t describe this as a children’s bedtime story – but some UK reviewers do – instead, I’d say it’s precious, hilarious and slightly dark all at once. I’ve re-read it several times and I’m reminded of my beloved board game Othello and the tagline “It takes a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master.”  Well, “Fox 8” takes less than an hour to read, but you’ll be thinking about this little fox and his pack long after. This story LINGERS.

The day after I read it, my friend Mary who lives a few miles away posted these pictures of baby foxes getting comfy in her backyard. And they came back the next day.

I can’t take it.  Cuteness Overload.

This quirky, little story made me realize how many talented individuals God placed on earth and how fortunate we are to enjoy and appreciate their skills and abilities. It also helped me remember I don’t always want to read to be entertained, inspired or to learn. Sometimes I read to be surprised. “Fox 8” is a wonderful surprise I want to share with you.

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