Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox

by Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Illustrator)
Publisher: Puffin Books
Mass market paperback, 81 pages
List Price: $7.99 Sale Price: $6.79

No one does talking, dressed-up, civilized animal stories quite like the British. It's no surprise that when Roald Dahl (a brilliant British writer in his own right) finally wrote one, it was amazingly awesome and hilarious. Especially hilarious—Fantastic Mr. Fox features some of the best dialogue to ever exit the mouths of beasts, the Rat in particular.

It also features some of the meanest and weirdest villains in the history of children's literature. The farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean, from whom Mr. Fox routinely steals chickens, ducks, and hard cider, enjoy two things: eating and trying to kill Mr. Fox. Boggis eats chickens, Bunce gorges himself on duck liver paste filled doughnuts, and Bean (the meanest) guzzles his cider; the Fox eats whatever he can get his paws on.

Which happens to be a lot. So much, in fact, that the farmers decide to get rid of the pest once and for all. They make a good go of it, too, even shooting off Mr. Fox's beautiful tail. But Fox isn't called Fantastic for no reason, and he uses every gram of wit, cunning, strength, and stealth he has to best the farmers in an all-out war.

He also employs the help of some other animals, though due to his wily ways it takes some effort to get them to see his side and want to join forces. But when he shows the badgers, rabbits and others how well he can provide for them, sneaking in and out of the farms at will while the farmers wait by his old hole for him to show himself, Mr. Fox becomes a hero.

This is essentially the trickster fable famous in most world cultures. For Africans the trickster is a spider, for Native Americans it's a coyote, and appropriately Dahl gives the British the trickster fox. It's difficult to tell what, if anything, he's trying to tell us through this tale, but it's certainly one filled with adventure, hilarity, and just plain zaniness.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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Exodus Rating
FLAWS: Mild animal violence
Summary: One of Dahl's funniest books, this one follows the adventures of Mr. Fox who compulsively steals from three very English farmers.

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  A Cute And Funny Story
Beatrix Taverne of WA, 8/24/2016
Mr. Fox lives next to the farms of Boggis, Bunce, and Bean (one fat, one short, one lean), in the roots of a tree, with Mrs. Fox and the four little foxes. Every night he sneaks out and steals something from one of the three farms, according to Mrs. Fox's preference.
Finally, the farmers decide to team up on him and kill him. Mr. Fox's tail gets cut off and the farmers start to dig him out in rage. They swear not to let up until he is dead.
Mr. Fox and his family tunnel downward for their lives. Mrs. Fox is faint with hunger, so Mr. Fox sets out to dig to the farms's storehouses. He meets other animals and comes up with a fantastic solution to their problems.
This is a fun book, full of witticism, yet easy to understand. Roald Dahl is one of my favorite authors (I have several ??).
  The Best Book Ever!
James of Beaverton, 6/21/2016
I am 8 years old, and I think that Fantastic Mr. Fox is the best book I have ever read. It is very funny, exciting, and full of action. It is so good I read it in one day. The main character, Mr Fox, is daring. He goes out of his hole everyday to get food, even though there are dangers. You really should read it.