Fantastic Mr. Fox

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Fantastic Mr. Fox Book Poster Image
Dahl's satisfying Robin Hood tale.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 14 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive messages

The lessons in this tale are a little convoluted. Mr. Fox is a hero for stealing and killing chickens; the farmers are villains for wanting to stop him and kill him.

Violence & scariness

Chickens are killed, Mr. Fox gets his tail shot off.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the lessons are a little twisty here, and guns are used, resulting in Mr. Fox losing his tail.

User Reviews

Parent Written bysonsmama August 22, 2012

Not correct reading level for 6-yr olds.

This book is recommended for reluctant readers age 6 and up. But, the reading level rating for the book (difficulty level) is for 4th grade. Hardly an experie... Continue reading
Educator Written bycferraro April 21, 2016
Kid, 7 years old August 24, 2009

fantastic mr fox

hi I think this book is quite intresting I read it all the way through it was quite a lot of page's in that book my favirate charchter was fantastic mr fox... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old November 24, 2009
It's a good book because it's about this fox and people... Great Book!

What's the story?

Mr. Fox is in the habit of stealing food for himself and his family from three nearby farmers: chickens from Boggis, ducks and geese from Bunce, and turkeys from Bean. But \"all three of them were about as nasty and mean as any men you could meet.\" Resenting Mr. Fox's thefts, they join forces to kill him.

First they lie in wait outside his den and manage to wound him. Then they begin digging to catch him and his family, first with shovels, and then with machines. Finally they decide to starve him out. But that's when Mr. Fox gets a brilliant idea.

Is it any good?

While this is a very slight story -- clever fox outwits mean farmers -- it provides lots to talk about. Why shouldn't the farmers try to kill the fox who is killing their animals? Is this some British class-consciousness, or does Dahl revel in junior-league subversiveness and messing with parents? Kids won't care -- they'll just love the story, and root for their stand-in, Mr. Fox, to defeat all those mean adults who don't want him to have what he wants.

Roald Dahl has more than his share of classics of 20th-century children's literature. In between his greater works, he tossed off many lesser books, and this is one of those. It's humorous and satisfying, in a straightforward sort of way -- none of Dahl's characteristic wicked cleverness is here. It's good for younger and reluctant readers, or when you're looking for a quick, fun read-aloud.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what the morals of this story are supposed to be. Why is it good for Mr. Fox to kill chickens, but bad for the farmers to want to kill him? Why is it good for Mr. Fox to steal their chickens, and bad for them to want to stop him? Do you agree with all this?

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