By: Mary Holland
Publisher: Sylvan Dell
Publication Date: March 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 25, 2013
Grass and old leaves whirl around the outside of a tunnel. Inside little Ferdinand and “his four brothers and sisters were born in an underground den.” It’s very dark and they remain in there for weeks until it is time to come out. Ferdinand is the smallest kit, the “runt of the litter.” When they are young they all drink their mother's milk. At five weeks of age it is time for them to come out of the tunnel and see the world for the first time. They look around, but don’t wander off. The kits nestle up to their mother to continue nursing, but Ferdinand isn’t always first in line.
Ferdinand and the other kits all look like big balls of orange fir. Their mother takes good care of them and when she grooms them “she uses her teeth to grab bugs and burrs from their fur and then spits them out on the ground.” It’s now time for Ferdinand and the other kits to get out and learn about their habitat. It looks like he enjoys putting things in his mouth, including that little stick. Ferdinand is especially attentive to the smells around him because a “fox’s most important sense is his sense of smell.” In this book, you’ll also learn about how kits learn to hunt by playing, why they “fight” with their siblings, you’ll watch as their parents bring food to them, see their mother try to wean her pups, and you’ll learn many other fascinating things that happen to Ferdinand during his first summer.
This is a fun look at Ferdinand, a fox kit, and how he starts his life. The layout of the book is in the form of a photo journal of Ferdinand’s entire summer. The full-page, full-color photographs give an exciting look into the life of young kits from the time they emerge from the den to the end of the summer when they are capable of hunting on their own. Newly independent readers can tackle this beginning nonfiction book with a bit of assistance with unusual words such as “pounce.” In the back of the book are several activities that can be downloaded and printed from the publisher’s website. This would be an excellent book to read and discuss in the homeschool or classroom setting.
Quill says: If you have young students in your classroom who are interested in learning about wildlife, Ferdinand would be more than happy to tell them about his family!