Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Roald Dahl
Illustrator:   Quentin Blake 
For ages 8 to 11
Penguin, 1998   ISBN: 978-0141301136

Mr. Boggis, Mr. Bunce, and Mr. Bean are three of the most horrible and disgusting people that you are ever likely to meet. Mr. Boggis has a prosperous chicken farm and his neighbor Mr. Bunce raises geese and ducks. Mr. Bean, who is the cleverest of the three, raises turkeys and he drinks cider all day, choosing not to eat anything at all. All three of these men are fed up. Mr. Fox, who lives in a hole with his wife and children, has been raiding their farms night after night and they have now decided that the time has come to get rid of the fox once and for all.

They begin their campaign by standing outside Mr. Fox’s hole and waiting for him, their guns in hand. Indeed they almost do manage to get the fox shooting off his splendid tail. Thankfully Mr. Fox survives this attack but he is once again forced back down into his hole.

Next the farmers try to dig the fox out but it turns out that a fox can dig faster than a man and Mr. Fox and his family even manage to out dig the farmer’s excavating machines. Exhausted by their efforts, the farmers then decide to wait the foxes out. Eventually the animals will have to come out for they will soon need food and water. When they do, the farmers and their helpers will be waiting for them. Inside his tunnel Mr. Fox and his family get weaker and weaker and Mr. Fox is just about to give up when he gets an inspired idea. Maybe there is a way to survive this dreadful calamity after all, and maybe the other digging animals is the neighborhood – who have been sorely disturbed by the farmer’s activities – can be saved as well.

Readers will quickly find themselves siding with the charming and clever Mr. Fox. He may steal poultry from the farmers but he is infinitely more likeable than they are. We cannot help feeling extremely satisfied when the fox finds a way to get around the farmer’s dreadful blockade.