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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Fox on the Swing (The)
by Evelina Daciute
Age Range: 6-8
Paul’s family live in a treehouse in the park of a big city; his father is a helicopter pilot and his mother a potter. Every day Paul goes to the bakery to pick up rolls for his family. Paul reckons he can find the bakery with his eyes shut and sometimes he does just that letting the wonderful smell lead him there.
One day, something quite unusual happens. On his way home from the bakery Paul encounters a fox wearing bright blue boots enjoying himself on one of the swings in the park. “Being generous is like an ocean. Would you like to be a drop in the ocean” the fox says to him. Paul doesn’t really understand but he nods anyway. “Then give me one of your rolls” says the Fox. Although not very happy about this Paul reluctantly gives her a roll. Over the following days an unlikely friendship develops as Paul continues to see the fox and give her his roll. “Having a fox as your friend is the same as swinging on a swing ” says Paul. “There are ups and downs. One day it might be fun. The next day it might not be so fun”.
The fox can be moody and Paul doesn’t always understand his wise and thoughtful` musings on happiness and the importance of friendship. “Will I always find you here?” Paul asks. “Of course not,” the fox replies. “When I need to be somewhere else, that’s where I’ll go.”
This original story by Lithuanian author Evelina Daciūtė, translated by The Translation Bureau, has a refreshing honesty that gently challenges readers in terms of the philosophical dialogue and myriad of unexpected detail in the bright, zany mixed media illustrations by Aušra Kiudulaitė. The colourful digital collages help to contribute to the atmosphere of unpredictability of the story. This is definitely a book to relish and dip into again and again.
Winner of the Mildred L. Batchelder Award 2019