The Adventures of an Urban Fox: Maggie Arrives by Yara Evans and Luciana Betti

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The Adventures of an Urban Fox: Maggie Arrives by Yara Evans and Luciana Betti

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Buy The Adventures of an Urban Fox: Maggie Arrives by Yara Evans and Luciana Betti at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Lovely story about two cats and an urban fox with plenty of entertainment and also educational value. One to read alone or to share.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 56 Date: April 2015
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN: 978-1511658645

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Black Cat and Tabby Cat are minding their own business in their own house when a very alarming thing happens. A creature - a large, dog-like creature - appears in their house. Black Cat, always one to take charge, challenges this fearsome creature with all the courage he can muster. Tabby Cat backs him.... from a rather safe distance. The creature is indignant - I'm not a dog. I'm a fox!

This is Maggie, an urban fox and a regular visitor to the garden belonging to Black Cat and Tabby Cat's human companion. Tabby Cat isn't too bothered by this but Black Cat considers both house and garden to be cat territory - foxes not welcome. What ensues is a merry dance between Maggie and Black Cat for garden and house rights, with Tabby Cat as occasional mediator, frequent eater. Until one day, when Maggie gets ill. Will hostilities cease? Can the cats help Maggie? Read on to find out....

Oh, this is a lovely story. Author Yara Evans has based it on her own experiences of observing, feeding and sometimes taking medical care of urban foxes who visit her own garden in London. Yes, there's a real Maggie! And I suspect Black Cat and Tabby Cat may reside chez Lara also! You really get a sense of the ingenuity of the urban fox - they are clever opportunists and not aggressive at all. And you also learn about the trials and tribulations of their scavenging lives. It's not an easy road for the urban fox and they are vulnerable to some very nasty diseases, as Maggie discovers. It also takes a lot for a fox to trust humans - and can you blame them?

The whole thing is quite short and sweet but quite a lot happens. The vocabulary is stretching but accessible and so this story will be perfect for an animal-loving and newly confident reader to tackle alone while still being nice to share at bed time. The characters Evans has given to her three protagonists are distinct and witty - Maggie is a free spirit and loves to discover new things; Black Cat is bossy and territorial and not as clever as he thinks he is; Tabby Cat is relaxed and tolerant and doesn't think much further than his next bowl of food. I liked it that we didn't meet any humans - even though the cats' "human companion" is spoken about and has an important task to perform, it's the animals who take centre stage in this story.

And just a quick shout-out to the lovely, warm, illustrations by Luciana Betti. They're done in vibrant colours from nature and take their emotional cues from what's happening in the story. I particularly liked the image of Maggie oh, so carefully and determinedly, pulling the bag of cat biscuits through the door, ready to make away with them. The expression on her face is priceless!

If you want to see some lovely pictures of the real Maggie and other urban foxes who have visited Yara's garden over the years, you can look here. Yara hints that she may tell another tale soon, this time from Maggie's point of view. I'd love to read it!  

If you enjoyed the hilarious Black Cat and Tabby Cat as much you enjoyed Maggie, you might also enjoy Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech, in which a fearsome black cat wins over a little boy who is missing his beloved dog. Forest Life and Woodland Creatures by DK will tell you all sorts of things about the wildlife and ecosystems of woods and forests. Grown-ups who love foxes might like to read Foxes Unearthed: A Story of Love and Loathing in Modern Britain by Lucy Jones

You can read more about Yara Evans here.


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Buy The Adventures of an Urban Fox: Maggie Arrives by Yara Evans and Luciana Betti at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Adventures of an Urban Fox: Maggie Arrives by Yara Evans and Luciana Betti at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.

Buy The Adventures of an Urban Fox: Maggie Arrives by Yara Evans and Luciana Betti at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Adventures of an Urban Fox: Maggie Arrives by Yara Evans and Luciana Betti at Amazon.com.

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