by Ann Tompert
illustrated by Laura J. Bryant
Marshall Cavendish Children
One day, while chasing a butterfly, Little Fox strayed farther and farther from her home. " Come back, Little Fox, " called her mother, "or you may get lost." But Little Fox was tired of playing near the mouth of her den. "Some day," she said, "I’m going to travel to the end of the world." "Oh," said her mother. "Is the end of the world very far?" As Little Fox’s imagination soars, she tells her mother how she will outsmart bears, tigers, elephants, monkeys, and even crocodiles. But finally, she’ll sail home, because "I shall miss you."
The text was originally published in 1991.
Kids just learning to read and write are often encouraged to come up with their own stories verbally first, and that’s just what Little Fox does here. Her fanciful story rings true to anyone who has listened to the kinds of winding stories kindergartners create: Little Fox’s made-up adventure takes her into the forest, across a river, into the mountains, over the ocean, and back, and she contends with monkeys, elephants, one-eyed cats, and more. Throughout, Little Fox’s mother prompts her with questions; this is a helpful model for adults wishing to encourage young storytelling. As with Max’s imaginary trip in Where the Wild Things Are (1963), when Little Fox’s is over, a hot meal is waiting. Charming watercolor paintings show close-ups of the action, with Little Fox herself often in the background; the focus here is on the story’s elements: crocodiles, monkeys, big waves, and the like. First published in 1976 with illustrations by John Wallner, this story continues to suit beginning adventurers.—Diane Foote