What Does the Fox Say? by Ylvis and Svein Nyhus

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What Does the Fox Say? by Ylvis and Svein Nyhus

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Category: Children's Rhymes and Verse
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: The lyrics of that song and some off illustrations, this one is a bit niche.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 32 Date: December 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
ISBN: 978-1471121944

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I know an 18 month old who is ace at animal noises. He knows what the cat who lives with him says, but also knows what dogs say and monkeys say and owls say and cows say. I’ve not asked him if he knows was foxes say, but I imagine he doesn’t. I mean, do you?

You may do when you’ve finished this book, but then again you may not. Or you might know for a moment but then promptly forget. It sounds odd, but trust me. As someone who has read this book half a dozen times already, I’m a bit stumped.

This is an odd book because it’s not a poem but you think it’s going to be, so you start reading it with a rhythm before you realise it’s not going where you expected it to. Or if it is a poem, it’s not a rhyming one, and while modern poetry is fine for adults, it doesn’t really work on kids, y’know?

The illustrations in this book are crazy. I’m sure they’re quite intricate and from a talented hand, but again, for a children’s book I didn’t like it. The fox looks super scary, some of the lines are very abstract so it’s hard to work out what you’re seeing, and the overall impression is a bit scientific meets fantasy meets someone potentially under the influence.

This book is based on the YouTube sensation, with which I was unfamiliar, but in the interests of research, I looked it up. And then I understood. Not why there were grown, Scandinavian men prancing around dressed like that in a music video, mind, but I understood the whole thing. Because this is the book of the song. That’s all it is: the lyrics, written down and illustrated in a way which is quite far removed from the images of the video, but never mind. There is no extra story, so if you're looking for that, you won't need this. It is simply the lyrics of the song, spread over a few dozen pages. Clearly there is a rhythm to it after all, and while it’s not obvious from the words or presentation, set it to music and have it sung to you, and you’ll get it. You’ll know it. You’ll never be able to forget it. Because, golly, it’s catchy in a VERY annoying way. I kind of love it.

I’m struggling to establish the audience for this because I can honestly say I’ve never thought Wow, I wish my favourite song of the moment was a book I could keep and read at home. We mostly learn song lyrics by hearing them, not by reading them in a book, so the latter would then add very little after the event. Therefore fans of the song wouldn’t need it, and those who don’t know it probably wouldn’t understand it. Notice that word 'need'? Maybe that’s the clue. True fans of football, celebrities, whatever often have all sorts of rubbish they don’t need, but just want and that may be where this fits in. If you love the song that much you can’t get enough of it, you may want this book in your life. It’s nicely presented though the combination of picture book size and shape and adult illustrations forms something of a dichotomy. It’s not for little readers, partly because it’s no fun to read aloud (sing, perhaps, but not read) and partly because the pictures are potentially nightmare-inducing, but if you know someone who has the song on constant repeat and knows every step of the dance, they might well appreciate this.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book, and for getting that song into my head. All my office thank you too.

Animal Noises by Nicola Killen tells you what more than just foxes say, but if they're what you like, check out A New Home for Little Fox by Janet Bingham and Rosalind Beardshaw

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Buy What Does the Fox Say? by Ylvis and Svein Nyhus at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy What Does the Fox Say? by Ylvis and Svein Nyhus at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy What Does the Fox Say? by Ylvis and Svein Nyhus at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy What Does the Fox Say? by Ylvis and Svein Nyhus at Amazon.com.


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