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Author: Alyssa Chase

Illustrator: Itoko Maeno

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Publisher: Marsh Media, a Division of Marsh Film Enterprises, Inc.,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Spring is here, and Tessa, a red fox pup, is enjoying life in Ojai, California. Thanks to her brother Rex, Tessa can keep her lazy ways. But when Rex doesn't bring home enough food to share, Tessa goes hungry. Rex says he can't support her lazy ways any more, and Tessa is on her own. She's not lazy, just resourceful! Just ask the raccoons and mice she takes food from. Then something happens that makes Tessa see herself a little more clearly! This picture book offers children a story about self respect and choices that they can relate to.

Type of Reading: family reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 5 to 9

Age of Child: Read with a child who is six years old.

Young Reader Reaction: Our child listened with rapt attention. S/He liked the illustrations and the happy ending. It was interesting to see how our child thought Tessa's behavior was "cute" in the beginning, and even with the raccoons; but as Tessa started talking about what she learned, the lesson sank in with our listener, too.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is an engaging story that children will relate to. We liked that it wasn't the usual animal story. The theme is mature, but not heavy-handed; and it also offered adult readers a way to talk about the world around us (like what happens when we destroy animal habitats).

Pros: This picture book tells a story that kids will relate to. The end papers offer factual information that complement the book and give more advanced readers additional details and context.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a nice story and kids will relate to it. However, it is not one that is likely to be a family classic.

If You Liked This Book, Try: GENEVIEVE'S GIFT: A Child's Joyful Tale of Connecting with her Intuitive Heart   STELLALUNA   PEEPER THE KINKAJOU

Educational Themes: At the end of the book you'll find a tip sheet for parents and educators. We found the most valuable part to be the questions you can ask a child about what they learned from the book. The story offers opportunities to talk about independence and being self-reliant; however, not to the degree intimated in that tipsheet.

Literary Categories: Fiction - animal characters, picture book, life lessons

Date(s) Reviewed: February 2008

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