Many thanks to Susan T. at Chicken Spaghetti for her Poetry Friday post featuring a "jaunty little song" from Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox. Leo and I started Fox last night and finished it this afternoon almost as soon as he got home from school. It was great fun to read aloud, and perfect for us to read together (I had to resist the temptation to read ahead after Leo went to bed). I also had to reassure Leo that the Fox family would be fine in the end more than once (I guessed; thank goodness I was correct!).
To be fair, farmers Boggis, Bunce, and Bean pose a credible threat to the foxes, and the book is fairly explicit about what might happen to them ("How will they kill us, Mummy?" asked one of the Small Foxes. His round black eyes were huge with fright. "Will there be dogs?"). In spite of (or perhaps because of?) that, Leo and I were compelled to keep reading, at breakneck pace, until we had reached the very happy, for the foxes at least, end.
At dinner (from Boggis's Chicken House Number One, natch), we talked about when and whether it was right for Mr. Fox to steal from the farmers. I like that Dahl deals with this dilemma in the book itself (see Chapter 14, Badger Has Doubts), although he leaves a lot of room for discussion. A good kids' book club pick!
[By the way, have you heard that there is a Fantastic Mr. Fox movie due out next year? George Clooney is the voice of Mr. Fox. No, really!]