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Archive for January 4th, 2019

by Sam Juliano

Though the exasperating “chick” in Sergio Ruzzier’s Fox + Chick: The Party and Other Stories could hardly be considered an outcast, his cunning and inhospitable behavior still recalls the the uncouth pelican in the 1980 Caldecott Medal winning Fables by Arnold Lobel, an allegory about taking advantage of one’s good graces.  Ruzzier reverses the common conception of how a child reader views the normally treacherous fox and the vulnerable chick, though a few years ago Mo Willems attached an unexpectedly perverse finale in his uproarious That is Not a Good Idea, which further inverts the character dynamic.  Ruzzier, in three irresistibly delightful stories featuring the same two characters engaging in domestic episodes, pairs a good Samaritan with a hardly feigned narcissist.  At the conclusion there isn’t a modicum of behavioral metamorphosis, but for the youngest readers the fun is getting there.  And few books released in 2018 showcase such unbridled merriment in the tradition of the comedic duos, where a straight man invariably is forced to absorb and shenanigans that threaten the social order but never quite dislodge the mutual affection and/or affiliation. (more…)

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