Monday, August 29, 2016

Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee

Title: Maybe a Fox
Author: Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee
Read by: Alison McGhee
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: Approximately 3 hours and 54 minutes
Source: Simon & Schuster Audio Digital Review Copy – Thank-you!

This short, but powerful middle reader book is the story of a girl who has lost both her mother and sister and a shadow fox cub that is both animal and spirit.  This book had me in tears at the end with a beautiful ending that brought all of the storylines together.  Where do we go when we die?  How do people handle death and understanding what has happened when loved ones pass away?

Sylvie who is twelve years old and Jules who is eleven years old are two very close sisters, although they sometimes get on each other’s nerves.  Jules is a budding geologist who likes to collect rocks and classify them while Sylvie is a runner who is always trying to increase her speed.  Their mother passed away when they were little and Jules is saddened that she doesn’t remember her.  One day while getting ready for school, Sylvie runs ahead to go down to the forbidden river before the bus arrives . . . and never comes back. 

At the same time, Senna, a fox cub is born.  Senna lives in a burrow under the earth with her mother and loves to play with her brother cub as they grow older.  Senna finds herself attracted to a sad girl in the woods, Jules, and has strange memories of a different life.

These two stories alternate between chapters with Jules telling the story one chapter and then Senna the next.  Part of the story is also about Jules and Sylvie’s friend Sam and his brother Elk.  Elk has returned from fighting in the military in Afghanistan without his best friend Zeke who died overseas.  He is often alone in the woods trying to come to terms with Zeke’s loss.

Co-Author Alison McGhee is the narrator for this audiobook and she does a superb job with a nice soothing voice.  This book was very emotional for me.  It is geared toward middle school kids and I’m sure would also be an emotional read for them as well.  I cried while listening to it on my drive home, and also at home trying to recount the tale to my husband.  The last part of the book wove together Senna and Jules narrative seamlessly and was a beautiful story.  I am better for having listened to it.

Overall Maybe a Fox is an emotional tale of a girl who has lost her sister and is trying to navigate a world without her and a shadow fox who is wise beyond her years.  This is an excellent novel.

Why book brings you to tears when you read or listen to it?


  1. Laura, this audiobook sounds sad but worthwhile. Excellent review! When I was a child, Amy Moves In would bring a tear to my eye (when her mother is in the accident). I also remember being very moved by The Little Matchgirl when I was very young.

    1. I've never read Amy Move In. I need to check that one out. The Little Matchgirl still moves me to tears when I read it around the holidays.