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Friday, April 28, 2017

The Fox Wish, written by Kimiko Aman and illustrated by Komako Sakai. Chronicle, Raincoast. 2017. $23.99 ages 4 and up

"The foxes were not very
good at jump rope. They
were good jumpers,. but
their tails kept getting
caught in the rope.

It didn't seem polite
to laugh at them, even
though they looked so
funny. But Lukie couldn't
help it."

Oh, what a lovely tale to read with little ones. They will surely see themselves in it - their belief that anything can happen, that wishes do come true, and that new friendships are worth pursuing. Told in Roxie's quiet voice, it is the story of a sister and brother who are sharing a snack when Roxie suddenly remembers the jump rope she left at the park. She invites Lukie along to retrieve it.

When they get there, the rope is gone. But, what is that sound they hear? Can it be their friends still playing? As luck would have it, it is, in fact, a group of fox kits and they are ... wait for it! ... jumping rope! Roxie and Lukie watch in awe from behind a nearby tree, not wanting to frighten the kits or disturb their play. They are just too darn comical! Without meaning to do so, Lukie laughs quietly at their antics. Their sharp ears know that someone is nearby. The children come out from their hiding place and are welcomed warmly. They are also asked for help in this rope jumping endeavor.

Roxie is quick to give instructions and the two join in their raucous romp. When the sky 'becomes peachy', they know their day of play must come to an end. As they prepare to say goodbye, Roxie notices that the rope being used is hers, as it has her name painted on it. That is when she discovers that the littlest fox shares her name and had made a wish for a game to play when they got to the park earlier in the day. The rope is her wish come true. The child Roxie handles the situation with aplomb and generosity.

If you are not familiar with Komako Sakai's artwork, having a close look here will send you to the library or bookstore to find her other books! She is so sensitive to children and their lives. She uses gorgeous acrylic gouache paints, oil pencil and ballpoint pen to bring the children and the kits together in park's warm setting. I loved the peach of the sunset and the pure joy the kits brought to an unfamiliar pursuit.

I know this is going to become a favorite new read for Sicily when I see her next. I am going to take great pleasure in sharing it with her - repeatedly.

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