Anti-bullying books are popular today. Into the mix comes The Fox Forest Band from Lisa Lindman. The story is cute and contains a twist, while the watercolor illustrations are soft on the eyes and fun. The Fox Forest Band is a picture book with high appeal!
Once upon a time there was a forest and it brimmed with animals. There’s a bear, a mouse, a hedgehog, a rabbit, and a spider, to name a few. I challenge you to find the rest! These animals were happy, until one day a fog rolled in. This fog was no usual one, for an evil wizard created it. Everyone whom the fog touched would have their deepest fear whispered in their ear. It took an impish fox with a smart idea to save the day. His idea is just as unusual as the fog as well as being charming.
Each time I flipped a page, a new watercolor spread greeted my eyes. Quite fittingly, the backgrounds initially beamed bright colors but then quickly faded into dark murky ones and once again at the end radiated into light cheery ones. On the majority of pages, animals danced about, cowered, or otherwise filled the scenes. A few pages revealed the wizard, but only a few, because of course this story belongs to the animals who bravely defeat evil. The spider is one of my favorites. You’ll enjoy trying to find him in each and every scene!
What’s not to like about Fox Forest Band? Occasionally, the rhyme feels a little forced, as if Lindman’s word choice were driven not by what sounded most natural but what best rhymed. Consider this line: “Hooray!” the animals all cheered. “No more wizard to dread!” Also, while an ending shouldn’t feel belabored, Lindman’s struck me as abrupt.
Many of the Advanced Reader Copies of picture books I receive feel heavy-handed in the theme. Due to the creative solution that the forest animals find to defeat the wizard, The Fox Forest Band manages not to preach while also being an engaging tale. It will no doubt be read multiple times by its target audience.
My rating? Bag it: Carry it with you. Make it a top priority to read.
How would you rate this book?