Published by Scholastic Press on September 29, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Juvenile Fiction, Magical Realism
Source: I listened to this audiobook via my TuneIn Premium subscription.
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Isla and her brother are two young foxes living just outside the lands of the furless -- humans. The life of a fox is filled with dangers, but Isla has begun to learn mysterious skills meant to help her survive.
Then the unthinkable happens. Returning to her den, Isla finds it set ablaze and surrounded by strange foxes, and her family is nowhere in sight. Forced to flee, she escapes into the cold, gray world of the furless.
Now Isla must navigate this bewildering and deadly terrain, all while being hunted by a ruthless enemy. In order to survive, she will need to master the ancient arts of her kind -- magical gifts of cunning known only to foxes. She must unravel the secrets of foxcraft.
I have a 7-year-old who is obsessed with foxes. When I saw Foxcraft listed on TuneIn Radio, we had to give it a listen. The protagonist, Isla, is a young fox. That’s right: This entire story is told from the point of view of a fox!
The narrator of the audiobook is outstanding. She has a super clear voice, and impeccable pacing. That’s so important with this book, because Foxcraft introduces a lot of new words and concepts that are unique to its world: cars are manglers, roads are the deathway, the city is the Great Snarl, etc.
“Every creature has the right to be free.”
The narrative is so descriptive and oftentimes very realistic (like when Isla has to hunt for food). The events that take place in the story bring up concerns about animal welfare: There were a few times where I paused to make sure C wanted to continue listening, because she’s a little sensitive, but all was well.
Other themes include confronting your deepest beliefs and putting them into action, as well as finding a balance between trusting the wisdom of what you’ve been taught, but trusting your gut when it’s telling you something different.
As Isla searches for her family, she meets another fox named Siffrin, who accompanies her for most of the book. Siffrin teaches Isla their species’ ancient arts: foxcraft. I love that foxcraft incorporates actual fox mythology from all over the world. Wa’akkir (shape-shifting), slimmering, karakking… there’s an entire magical world of fox abilities Isla has to learn, and we get to learn about it alongside her. C and I both enjoyed this book, and look forward to listening to the rest of the series.