Foxes In Children’s Literature

Ebenezer Newman Downard - Winter Landscape with Fox and Hares

A fox is a wolf who sends flowers.

Ruth Weston


These summaries are from Baughman’s Type and Motif Index of the Folktales of England and North America by Ernest Warren Baughman, 1966. Read through these story summaries and you’ll get a good idea of how coats have been used throughout history. Can you see patterns?

Arthur Applebee asked a group of pre-school children to tell him the characters of a list of animals. They were more certain of the stereotypical personalities of animals they could only have met in stories, such as brave lions or sly foxes, than of the characters of dogs or cats, where experience of specific dogs and cats came in to complicate the picture. Story characteristics are prepared for reception, so to speak; they’re consistent, they don’t contradict themselves, and they’re dispensed at the pace that understanding demands.

The Child That Books Built, Frances Spufford

But the sly characteristic of the fox is sometimes inverted for comic effect. The following is from an earlier time, obviously:

During the Middle Ages, foxes were a widely recognised symbol for the devil. This reputation hung around for a very long time. The following book, Mister Fox, was published in the 1870s.

A woman trapped on a mountain attempts to survive more than one kind of monster, in a dread-inducing horror novel from the national bestselling author Christina Henry.

Mattie can’t remember a time before she and William lived alone on a mountain together. She must never make him upset. But when Mattie discovers the mutilated body of a fox in the woods, she realizes that they’re not alone after all.

There’s something in the woods that wasn’t there before, something that makes strange cries in the night, something with sharp teeth and claws.

When three strangers appear on the mountaintop looking for the creature in the woods, Mattie knows their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry.


Myth Monsters: Inugami. “For this week’s episode, we’re heading back over to Japan and looking at the terrible tale of the Inugami! How do these ghostly dogs link to Kitsune and the class system? How can you get one in the most horrendous way? Find out this week!”

Hunting & Fishing Magazine December 1933

Cara chats with evolutionary biologist, behavioral ecologist, and science historian Dr. Lee Dugatkin about his new book “How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog)” (coauthored with Lyudmila Trut). They discuss the famed Siberian silver fox experiment, learning a lot about evolution along the way

Header painting: Ebenezer Newman Downard – Winter Landscape with Fox and Hares


On paper, things look fine. Sam Dennon recently inherited significant wealth from his uncle. As a respected architect, Sam spends his days thinking about the family needs and rich lives of his clients. But privately? Even his enduring love of amateur astronomy is on the wane. Sam has built a sustainable-architecture display home for himself but hasn’t yet moved into it, preferring to sleep in his cocoon of a campervan. Although they never announced it publicly, Sam’s wife and business partner ended their marriage years ago due to lack of intimacy, leaving Sam with the sense he is irreparably broken.

Now his beloved uncle has died. An intensifying fear manifests as health anxiety, with night terrors from a half-remembered early childhood event. To assuage the loneliness, Sam embarks on a Personal Happiness Project:

1. Get a pet dog

2. Find a friend. Just one. Not too intense.




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