Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ben's Chapter Book Pick: Fantastic Mr. Fox

While I do allow my children to pick out the books they want to read, every once in awhile, I still like to force some on them.  After a summer of chapter books about superheroes and Geronimo Stilton, I took back control, and foisted another Roald Dahl pick on Ben.  This time, the choice was Fantastic Mr. Fox.  I read this book back in elementary school, and vividly remember a description of one of the farmer's in the book having ear wax so bad that dead bugs were stuck in it.  I think of it every time I clean my ears!

The plot of this book is very straight-forward - simple for a four-year-old to understand and follow.  Mr. Fox has kept his family fed by stealing food every day from three rich local farmers.  When they wise-up to his shenanigans, they make a plan of their own to smoke Mr. Fox out of his hole and shoot him.  The chase is on, and the question is whether Mr. Fox can outsmart the greedy men, or whether he will meet his end.

As with a few other Dahl books, there is a moral dilemma here - does Mr. Fox have the right to steal food that isn't his?  Shouldn't he be punished?  But, without stealing, his family will presumably go hungry - and don't these farmers already have too much?  But, aside from the bigger picture, there is a lot of fun to be had with the descriptions and characters in this book.  It's short, so it took us about three nights to read, but throughout each reading, we would stop and talk about what we thought would happen next, whether we thought Mr. Fox would be able to escape, and what he was going to do if he did.

All in all, this was a very fun book to read out loud.  As with other Dahl books, there is some name-calling that I may have censored a bit, but for the most part, we told the story as-is.  Made me excited to move on soon to The B.F.G. and The Witches!

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