The White Fox by Jackie Morris
|The White Fox by Jackie Morris|
|Category: Dyslexia Friendly|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A dyslexia-friendly book which will appeal to tweens to adults. Highly recommended: a gorgeous read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 96||Date: October 2016|
|Publisher: Barrington Stoke|
|External links: Author's website|
Sol had never been happy in Seattle. It wasn't just that he was bullied at school: being Inuit he looked different and that always makes you a target. Sol's heart was somewhere else - in the Arctic, where he felt he belonged and where he had grandparents whom he'd not seen for such a long time. Everything changed when his father told him about the white Arctic fox which had been seen on the docks and Sol set about finding the fox - and then feeding it. But what would happen to the fox when it was trapped? And how would Sol handle the situation?
Jackie Morris is special. It's only about a month since I was stunned by the watercolours in a counting book, and now, here I am, raving about her abilities as a storyteller. The story has its roots in Seattle Zoo where she encountered an Arctic fox. One had climbed into a dumpster in the Arctic - and found himself in Seattle, but Morris took the story and allowed it to branch out into something very special, with its layer of folklore. Was it Sol's grandmother who sent the fox to Seattle to bring him and his father back to where they belonged?
There's a deceptive depth to the story too. It might only be 84 pages long, with copious illustrations, but it deals sensitively with subjects which children, unfortunately, have to deal with. I liked that the answer to the bullying was not that you have to go and face up to them, because sometimes that's not the answer. Sol's mother was killed in an accident in Seattle when he was only two, but his father found it difficult to see her parents, perhaps fearing that they would think him responsible. There are three generations of a family - and they all feel the grief at the loss of a mother, a wife and a daughter differently and all have to come to terms with the loss in their own way.
The story is hauntingly beautiful, and not just in the way that it captures the Arctic. It's told in a gentle, straightforward way that children understand but which doesn't seem overly simplistic to adults: it's excellent writing which you recognise at any age. There's a sense of peril when you wonder what will happen to the fox - I couldn't put the book down until I'd finished reading. I had to know what happened to the fox and to all the people involved.
On the basis of all that I've said, the book is undoubtedly worth five of our Bookbag stars, but there's a bonus. The book is published by Barrington Stoke, which means that it's dyslexia friendly with a font which encourages you to read on, and off-white pages which eliminate glare. They're thick enough too to ensure that there's no bleed through from the reverse of the page, which can put some readers off. Don't be put off by the fact that the book is dyslexia friendly - there's nothing on the book the suggest this - it's simply that the book is easier and pleasanter to read for everyone. Most Barrington Stoke books are paperbacks but this one is a hardback, complete with silk bookmark, ensuring that it's the sort of book which will be passed down the generations. It's one special book and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For another thoughtful, dyslexia-friendly book, have a look at The Seal's Fate (Colour Conker) by Eoin Colfer and Victor Ambrus. You'll also love The Ice Bear which is also by Jackie Morris.
You can read more book reviews or buy The White Fox by Jackie Morris at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The White Fox by Jackie Morris at Amazon.com.
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