November 28, 2016

Fox and Squirrel, The Best Christmas Ever

by Ruth Ohi
North Winds Press, an imprint of Scholastic Canada
978-1-4431-5703-2
32 pp.
Ages 2-7
September 2016

Now that the train of Santa Claus parades has begun and Christmas decorations are splattering front yards and homes throughout the country (yes, I know stores have been on the Christmas bandwagon for months!), it feels right to start reviewing some Christmas-themed books.   With Ruth Ohi’s Fox and Squirrel (Fox and Squirrel, 2013; Fox and Squirrel Make a Friend, 2014) making their own plans for the holidays, this might just get everyone else in the mood too.
From Fox and Squirrel, The Best Christmas Ever 
by Ruth Ohi
Once the snow comes, the two unlikely friends are definitely excited about Christmas. But while Fox is enjoying playing in the snow, Squirrel is enthusiastically planning colours, foods and starting a tower of evergreen twigs and red berries.  When Fox wants to help, Squirrel emphatically, almost rudely, fends him off, telling him, “Don’t touch! You’ll ruin it.” (pg. 11)

From Fox and Squirrel, The Best Christmas Ever 
by Ruth Ohi
Squirrel continues to go deeper into the forest, looking for more touches for his Christmas creation, until he realizes he cannot find his way back.  Fortunately, though chastized, Fox continued to try to contribute and was there with his friend to help make their way home.  With an apology and forgiveness, and the partnering of true friends, Fox and Squirrel do make the best Christmas ever.
From Fox and Squirrel, The Best Christmas Ever 
by Ruth Ohi
It’s hard not to love Ruth Ohi’s Fox and Squirrel (actually all her characters). Their eyes beam with joy, their mouths laugh with happiness, and their camaraderie is infectious.  In Fox and Squirrel, the Best Christmas Ever, the two are able to work through the ever-common stress of the holidays and find it’s the gift  of their friendship that makes the season.  This is sweetly conveyed in Ruth Ohi’s words, primarily simple dialogue between Fox and Squirrel, but more so in her cartoon-like illustrations of the two companions.  Their large oval heads with half-faces and bellies of white may be distinct, but it’s the body language and facial expressions that Ruth Ohi communicates with limited strokes that make Fox and Squirrel the lovable creatures they are.  In their watercolour landscapes of snow-covered fields, falling flakes, evergreens, and majestic trunks of bare deciduous trees, Fox and Squirrel exude affection for each other and life, and young readers will feel welcomed to enjoy the snow and the season with the two friends.
 
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Downloadable activities plus cards and bookmarks are available at Ruth Ohi’s website at http://www.ruthohi.com/fox-and-squirrel-winter-fun

The French-language version, Rikii et Rouquin, Le plus beau Noël (texte français de Josée Leduc) is also available.

2 comments:

Ruth Ohi said...

Thank you for this, Helen. It means so much. Fox and Squirrel send snowy cartwheels your way. <333

Helen K said...

Gotta love these little guys!