BrindleFox refuses to be a friend, so he has no friends. He never lets anyone into his home, so he doesn't bother to clean it. Moss and ivy weave through his furniture, and weeds and grasses grow on his floors and in his drawers. One morning, he discovers something unexpected—a tree has begun sprouting from his back. Unphased by this development, he continues on with his life, and the tree continues to grow. One day, a strange heron appears in his tree. Furious, BrindleFox attempts to drive the intruder away and finds himself stunned by something he doesn't understand—a selfless act of kindness from a fearless new friend.
Brilliantly illustrated, BrindleFox touches on themes of sadness, loneliness, self-care, and the redeeming power of friendship in simple ways that children will intuitively understand. Little ones will be welcomed into a world brimming with hidden wonders and memorable characters that they will want to revisit time and time again.
John Sandford grew up in Pontiac, Illinois, the fourth of five children. He studied drawing and painting at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and illustrated his first picture book in 1978. Since then, he has illustrated a variety of children's books from non-fiction to folktales, including Does a Fiddler Crab Fiddle?, Moonstick: The Seasons of the Sioux, and Oak Leaf, which he also wrote.John lives with his wife, Frances, in Chicago’s North Park neighborhood, where most days, they walk the paths of the river and parks. Their favorite hours are spent with their daughter, Eleanor, and her husband, Jacques. You can explore more of John’s work at www.sandfordarchive.com.
How to make a friend?
Hardhearted BrindleFox doesn’t like anyone. The anthropomorphic fox’s house is dirty and overgrown with plants. And one day a tree starts to grow from his back. Branches, leaves, and berries sprout; creatures build homes in it. A heron swings from its branches, and BrindleFox fumes, chasing her away; returning the next day, she gathers brambleberries. Soon, BrindleFox discovers a brambleberry pie on his windowsill and eats it. He asks Heron incredulously why she made a pie for him. Another pie follows—but, more importantly, so does a remarkable change in personality as BrindleFox cleans himself and his house, removes the tree from his back and saws it into planks, and begins to build furniture, a project Heron enthusiastically and skillfully helps with. Heron continues baking, and in the ensuing years, she and BrindleFox consume pastries while sitting on expertly wrought wooden chairs, enjoying long talks and deep friendship. The moral of the story? “To have a friend, one must be a friend.” Children will appreciate this warm fable’s satisfying conclusion. What shines through in the sweet, simple telling is its message about kindness and the idea that cold hearts can thaw through patience and understanding. The oil-paint illustrations are standouts, their lush colors enlivening precise, folkloric details and enhancing settings. BrindleFox and Heron—actual enemies in nature—are expressive, fully realized protagonists.
Young readers will eagerly befriend these characters.—Kirkus Reviews