Maybe a Fox
One morning, Jules’s sister, Sylvie, runs into the woods to throw “a wish rock” into the Slip—and never returns. Moments later, a fox kit is born—and is mysteriously tied to the sisters.
JLG Release: May 2016
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Upper Elementary & Junior High Plus
Awards & Honors
Parents’ Choice Awards, Fiction Gold, Spring 2016
ALA Notable Books for Children Nominee–Summer 2016, Fiction
Booklist 2016 Editors’ Choice, Books for Youth, Middle Readers, Fiction
Green Earth Book Award 2017 Longlist, Children’s Fiction
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Book List*, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
School Library Journal
Twelve-year-old Sylvie, the older of the two Sherman sisters, is the runner, the fast, impetuous one. A year younger, Jules is a rock collector who takes her time to think things through. The morning of the last snowfall of the season in rural Vermont, Jules and Sylvie build a miniature snow family before getting ready [STARRED REVIEW]
Twelve-year-old Sylvie, the older of the two Sherman sisters, is the runner, the fast, impetuous one. A year younger, Jules is a rock collector who takes her time to think things through. The morning of the last snowfall of the season in rural Vermont, Jules and Sylvie build a miniature snow family before getting ready for school. Sylvie wants to be fast, “so fast that . . ” but she never finishes that sentence, and Jules isn’t sure why her sister is so focused on speed. After playing in the snow, Sylvie darts off into the woods to throw a wishing rock into the Slip—and that’s the last time anyone sees her. At that moment, a fox kit is born. One of a litter of three, this kit is a “kennen,” a being that has an understanding that others do not possess and a destiny that it cannot escape. It’s tied to Jules and to Sylvie. Although Sylvie’s body is not found, everyone knows she drowned in the river and is gone. Jules thinks of it as “the After Sylvie” time, and she and her father grieve together, struggling to cobble together some hope for the future. There are some heavy elements in this beautifully written middle grade novel: the death of Sylvie and Jules’s mother several years before the story begins, the devastating disappearance/death of Sylvie, and the grieving of a neighbor who was deployed with his best friend to Afghanistan. But despite these sad events, the descriptions of rural Vermont, the sense of caring within Jules’s community, and the relationship between the two girls and their father make for a book that is both raw and hopeful and one that readers won’t soon forget. Through a dual narrative—one from Jules, the other from the “kennen” fox kit—the authors convey an understanding that grief is a journey and that a person can, even after terrible loss, feel the warm sun, smile once again, and make wishes for the future. VERDICT Highly recommended for all middle grade collections.—Kathy Kirchoefer, Henderson County Public Library, NC
5" x 7 1/2"
Level 0; Points: 0;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 4.5; Points: 10;