Everyone loves animals–especially playful, curious, cuddly animal babies, and author Amandine Momenceau’s new picture book, Mother Fox and Her Cubs, is full of just that.
In this oversized hardback book about babies in nature, a mother fox has temporarily lost site of her cubs. After all, a thick blanket of snow fell last night and now, in the bright of morning, it blinds out everything except white, white, white.
Using tall, sturdy pages, paper artist Momenceau paints a serene picture of pale snow, sparse vegetation and what seems like miles and miles of empty white space to give readers a sense of the wide-open space of Mother Nature. Although Mother Fox quickly spots her babies, she loses them just as quickly in the snow-blind landscape. But she doesn’t panic; she patiently uses her eyes to find their fur, which stands out against the snow. She also uses her sharp hearing to distinguish their foxy movements from typical nature sounds, and she uses her keen sense of smell to track their location.
As Mother Fox tracks, young readers may find themselves playing along by using their own senses. For example, they may count “One, two, three, four…” as Mother Fox finds each cub. They may use their fingertips to trace the snowy paw prints the cubs make as they play hide-and-seek. And they may also closely examine clever pages shaped like tree trunks, shrubs and even Mother Fox, to find each playful cub.
This is a sweet book that is chock full of learning. Young readers learn how mother foxes deal with their young. They witness first-hand how mother foxes use their eyes, ears and noses to find their babies. They also get to join in the foxy game of hide-and-seek as they watch fox cubs peek around trees or jump out from behind bushes.
Ms. Momenceau’s prose is brief, age-appropriate and just cheeky enough to keep children laughing until the last page of the book. Her illustrations are as soft and welcome as the thick blanket of snow the foxes play in throughout the book. But perhaps best of all, her illustrations reinforce family, fun and belonging–especially at the end when the baby foxes rush into the den and cuddle up next to Mother Fox for the night.
Use this book to reinforce family or to begin a conversation about humans, nature, and our deep and abiding love for animals.