“Fox the Tiger: I Can Read” by Corey R. Tabor
Harper and Collins, New York, 2018, 32 pages, Grades 2-3.
When youngsters begin to learn to read, they frequently want what is commonly known as “chapter books.” Part of the difficulty is that their reading skills do not match up with their ability. This is why early readers are so important.
Early readers have simple sentence structures, modest vocabularies, high interest and interesting plots. These books can be used effectively by teachers and parents to teach early reading skills and to spark interest in more difficult chapter books. The illustrations in early readers often serve as a bridge between the text and the children’s understanding.
Corey Tabor has written an enjoyable book that incorporates these principles while at the same time building self-acceptance. The name of this interesting book is “Fox the Tiger.”
Fox is unhappy with himself. He doesn’t seem big, fast, or fearsome. Opening a book, Fox sees a tiger. The tiger is impressive. The tiger in the book is large and fast. Fox sees him hiding during a hunt and wishes with all his heart he could be like this. But what is a fox to do?
An idea comes into his head: “Why don’t I paint stripes on myself and then I will look like a tiger.” He quickly finds a paint brush and transforms himself into a tiger. Now Fox feels strong, brave and believes that all the other animals will be impressed with him.
He goes out and meets Turtle. Turtle greets him as “Fox.” But Fox tells Turtle that he is now Tiger. Impressed, Turtle tells Tiger to wait for him as he now has a new idea. Turtle leaves and goes home to plan his new thought. While Tiger is waiting, Rabbit comes by and sees that Fox has become Tiger. He rushes home to transform himself as well.
Soon, all three are back together again. Fox is Tiger, Turtle is painted with racing stripes and calls himself Race Car. Rabbit puts a box on his head and renames himself Robot. All three animals then begin racing around in circles. It is so good to be someone you are not.
Suddenly, a dark cloud appears overhead and rain starts falling. All the paint begins to wash off of the animals. As their new personas disappear, depression begins to set in. What has happened to their new brave, strong and daring personalities? Fox in particular is downcast. Suddenly, Squirrel comes by and looks up at Fox. He is really impressed. What does he help Fox learn?
Why does Squirrel admire Fox so much? How does this help Fox feel good about himself? Have you ever felt that you didn’t quite measure up? How can we help others understand their personal value? How do the animals help each other? To find out, go to the library and check out this lovely story of self-acceptance.
“Fox the Tiger” won the American Library Association’s Theodor Geisel Award in 2018 for the most distinguished beginning reader published in English in the United States.
Dr. Seuss is the pen name for Theodor Geisel. The book is as entertaining as any of Dr. Seuss’s books. Young children (and adults) will be able to identify with Fox’s struggles at self-acceptance. The story is fun and makes a great read-aloud. I hope you get a chance to go to the library and check out this title. You and your entire family will be glad. Enjoy!