Today’s book review is for Francis, the Little Fox, written by Veronique Boisjoly, illustrated by Katty Maurey, published by Kids Can Press. I received an electronic copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I want to start off by praising the absolutely gorgeous book design. It’s a truly beautiful book. There is a certain quality to it that is reminiscent of vintage children’s books. Many of the pages feature an abundance of negative space–rather than trying to fill every page up, the designer has opted to create a sense of openness and leisurely pace.
Maurey’s illustrations are what really bring the book to life, though. Her retro style and muted palette are wonderful. There are plenty of images that would be perfect if framed on the wall of a child’s room. One would never guess that her pictures are digitally rendered, having small marks sometimes that make them look like they’ve been stamped or sponged onto the page. In particular I love the exteriors of the city. It has a classic feel, charming and quaint.
The writing is where I found flaws. The story itself is fun. I enjoyed reading about laundry day rituals and Francis’s rival Lily Rain Boots who is always playing pranks on him. It brought up a bit of nostalgia for me. It’s a fun plot and there are some great little details thrown in. The problem is that there are too many details thrown in. There’s some superfluous exposition at the beginning of the book that really wasn’t needed and gave the story a false start. Things could have been trimmed down a bit. 96 pages is a bit long for a picture book.
I also had a problem with the final “joke” of the book. It seemed a little insensitive–and while children are likely to laugh at it, I don’t think it’s something we should be encouraging them to laugh at.
So, I’m going with 3 out of 5 stars. There was some really great stuff about this book. But I’m generally not inclined to recommend books that promote the mocking of overweight people. It was a disappointing ending that left a bad taste in my mouth.
You can find more information about this book, including other reviews, at Goodreads.