Fox & Bird (Edwina Wyatt, illus by Alice Lindstrom, Little Hare)
Edwina Wyatt’s picture book is about testing the bonds of new friendship. Fox’s loneliness lends him to do strange things. He tries to befriend a bird but she has a mischievous sense of humour and commands Fox to swim, jump, run, dance … but Bird is not happy with anything he does. When the situation is reversed, the feathery one ends up feeling put out that her attempts to impress are not appreciated by Fox. Eventually they reach a compromise, and mutual satisfaction between the two animals prevails. Alice Lindstrom’s illustrations are bathed in luscious colours. The natural world is beautifully rendered; everything is in shades of green and in full bloom. Fox in particular pops on every page—Lindstrom delights in showing off of his reddy-orange flank and white-tipped tail and belly to great effect, and Bird’s blueness is a perfect contrast to his warm tones. A quibble: there is minimal text but the size and slightness of the font makes the writing hard to see and whether or not it’s intended, the copy seems to blend into the background pictures. Despite this, Fox & Bird is suitable for preschoolers trying to negotiate friendships and empathy.
Thuy On is a freelance arts journalist and reviewer, and the books editor of the Big Issue