What Does the Fox Say?



Wacky art helps make childlike song a great read for kids.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn or recall the sounds different animals make. There's a reference to Morse code as simply "Morse," which parents may need to explain. (The illustration of a fox tapping out a message helps.)

Positive messages

Gets kids to consider deep questions such as: How would a fox communicate with a horse?

Positive role models

The unseen narrator is curious, respectful, and admiring of the different animals and refers to the fox as "my guardian angel."

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that What Does the Fox Say? is a graphically stylish picture book that illustrates the lyrics of "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" by Norwegian comedy/pop duo Ylivs, which was the top video on YouTube for 2013. Even without the music, kids will have fun making the imagined sounds the fox might make and looking at all the funny animals on the busy pages. The music video is amusing in part because of the contrast between the singers' mock seriousness and the outright silliness of the lyrics. Here the words just seem like totally kid-appropriate text, perfect for reading aloud.

Parents say

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What's the story?

WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY? is a picture book version of the lyrics to the catchy pop song and music video by Norwegian pop duo Ylvis. YouTube named \"The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)\" its Top Video of 2013, as it received more than 200 million global views. The basic question the song poses is, in fact, intriguing. As all little kids know, cats say \"meow\" and cows say \"moo,\" but what does the fox say?

Is it any good?


Without the catchy melody and pulsing beat of the Ylvis song, you might think the words would fall flat on the page, but the wacky, stylized art keeps things lively and engaging. Antic scenes of different animals busy at play and mischief give kids lots to look at, point out, and talk about. The distinctive palette of burnt orange, gray, cream, and tan makes the book stand out as well. 

Kids also will enjoy, with or without the music, trying out the suggested possibilities of what the fox says, such as, "Jacha-chacha-chacha-chow!" and "Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!" It should make for a rousing read-aloud.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the sounds animals make. What other sounds can you think of besides the ones mentioned in the book (and the song)?

  • If you've heard the song or watched the video, how does the book compare? Which do you like better?

  • What sound do you think the fox makes?

Book details

Illustrator:Svein Nyhus
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice, Horses and farm animals, Music and sing-along, Wild animals
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:December 10, 2013
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 8
Read aloud:4 - 8
Read alone:6 - 8
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of What Does the Fox Say? was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byUnoriginal December 17, 2013

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

Awesome. That's all I have to say!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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