Alison McGhee, book review, Children's Writing, Emelia Whippie Prior, J. J. Prior, Kathi Appelt, Maybe a Fox, Patriot Papers, Writing

Maybe a Fox — Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Gather knowledge about the craft of writing. Immerse yourself in the art of it. Then write.
Write yourself silly. Write yourself mad. Write yourself blind. Trust the excitement that builds
within you when the idea is good and the writing is superb. You can do it, but that’s the hell of it as well as the exultation of it. You have to do it.”
~ Elizabeth George ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Think you have a good idea for a book? Janice Hardy at Fiction University has some questions HERE you should ask yourself before embarking on that writing journey. 

Helen Pyne has a terrific post on Through the Tollbooth HERE about how to use setting to reveal much about your characters. 

Alex Limberg has a good post HERE on spiffing up your dialogue — always a good idea.

Last week I promised one of you a paperback copy of Patriot Papers: Bursting with Fun Facts about America’s Early Rebels. This week’s winner is Patty Hawthorne. Congratulations, Patty! I will get the book out to you this week. For the rest of you, hang on. Another great giveaway coming this week.

I found myself in a strange position this week of having nothing already reviewed and in my queue. My reading and reviewing was cut way back during my husband’s long illness, so the well was pretty dry. I do have quite a TBR pile, though, books I don’t seem to get to since there always seems to be a book I need to review that has a deadline. On top of the pile? Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee. I have really meant to get to this one for quite a while, but life got in the way. 

Jules and her sister Sylvie are best friends, but like best friends and sisters, sometimes they argue and want to do things differently from the other. Sylvie is a runner, the fastest runner in their school. Jules is a rock hound with a huge collection of all kinds of rocks, including several wishing rocks. They know from a neighbor woman that if they put their wish on a rock and throw it into “the Slip,” a place where the river boils and disappears into the ground, their wish may come true. The girls are strictly forbidden by their father to go anywhere near the Slip. But one morning, Sylvie insists she will run quickly to the Slip and back, in plenty of time to catch the school bus. Jules tries to stop her, but Sylvie slips away, leaving Jules with only Sylvie’s empty mitten in her hand. And Sylvie is gone. 

Kathi Appelt


The girls’ good friend, Sam, tries to be there for Jules, but he is dealing with losses of his own besides the loss of Sylvie. Though his wishing rocks seem to have worked, bringing his brother, Elk, home from Afghanistan, Elk’s best friend, Zeke, did not return, and it is a terrible loss for both the boys. And Elk is not the same, adding to Sam’s loss.

At the same time, a fox is about to give birth to three kits, one of which, the mother realizes, is a Kennen, a magical being with a special connection to other Kennen beings, human and animal. The reader comes to realize that the little fox kit, Senna, is somehow connected to Jules. Can all these damaged people be helped by the magical creatures in this story? 

Alison McGhee
I am not a big fantasy reader, but this is such an enchanting book, I am really glad I picked it up. The writing is beautiful, the story is terribly sad and sweet, and the characters will grab your heart and leave an indelible impression. Keep the tissues handy, but make time to get to this one. It’s lovely.

I have a gently-read hardback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don’t forget to check out Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

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