One of the ever-surprising facets of writing a weekly blog that ties my personal life to children’s books I love is that I end up excavating all kinds of buried memories: some good and some that should probably stay in the vault.
For various complicated reasons that I’m still sorting out all these decades later, as the oldest of three children, I seemed to be always struggling to make a dramatic statement. I also had a very active imagination, I was bored a lot, and I wanted to drum up some excitement.
One of the stranger junior high moments that came back to me this weekend was the time I taped a huge gauze bandage on my head and told everyone I was dragged on the sidewalk while walking our family dog, Sabre. A lot of my time at Weeks Junior High in Newton, Massachusetts, in the early ’70s is a blur, but I do remember teachers and other students and friends being concerned. Even the assistant principal, who was a remote administrative presence we never saw in the halls, asked me if I was okay.
As the weeks wore on and my theoretical wound started to heal, I made the bandages smaller and smaller, ending with a regular-size Band-Aid in the middle of my forehead. This is in the days before Amazon’s same-day delivery, so I am trying to recall how I even got all these medical supplies. I must have ridden my bike to Garb Drug in Newton Center and used my babysitting money…or maybe we had lots of gauze bandages and adhesive tape in the hall linen closet that nobody missed.
Since, in those days, I only had my Kodak Instamatic camera with a flashcube attachment and selfies hadn’t been invented yet, I have no photos of myself going through this experience. But I do remember getting tired of having to keep up the charade, and then the feeling of those late-stage Band-Aids slipping off my forehead.
Fox would understand my adolescent mischief. After all, he tries to convince everyone (and himself) that he’s a tiger in the Scholastic Book Clubs Book of the Week, Fox the Tiger by Corey R. Tabor. Fox also likes to make a dramatic statement, so he paints black stripes down his back and goes on the prowl in this adorable early reader and winner of the 2019 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award.
Corey R. Tabor was washing the dinner dishes when he got the call informing him that Fox the Tiger had won the award, but instead of answering, he thought it was a spam call and ignored it. But when the phone rang again, he realized that the ALA awards were set to be announced the following morning and nervously answered to a group of librarians applauding and congratulating him.
Corey has written four other books in the Fox series—Fox and the Jumping Contest, Fox and the Bike Ride, Fox Is Late, and Fox Versus Winter—featuring the character he created based on a wooden-fox tree ornament that his wife had given him for Christmas.
Once Fox declares to his friends, Rabbit and Turtle, that he is now a tiger, they promptly join in the fun and share their new identities as a robot and race car—until a rain shower washes away their costumes and they are back to being their unadorned selves. I felt the same way after removing that last Band-Aid from my uninjured forehead, and realized it was a lot less exhausting to just be myself minus the extra drama.
“The overarching message of self-love is a good one, but the no-fuss acceptance of changing identities in text and dialogue (even if they are just pretend) is even better. Feel-good, make-believe fun.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Limited background details, creamy white pages, and an uncomplicated font are a perfect combination for an emerging reader.” —School Library Journal
With humor and heart, Fox the Tiger highlights the benefits of having a robust imagination, while reminding us that we all have qualities that make us unique, and sometimes it takes a little squirrel (or a roll of gauze) to teach that big lesson.
Here are some additional resources to complement the Book of the Week:
• Take a brain break with the Book Boys as they perform an original upbeat, self-esteem-boosting song inspired by Fox the Tiger
• Get tips for using Fox the Tiger in your classroom from a second grade teacher in Book Talks
• Learn some fun facts about award-winning author Corey R. Tabor in Behind the Scenes
• Download a free printable “Let’s Play Pretend!” activity to accompany Fox the Tiger in Cooked Up from a Book
We want to help teachers inspire every student to declare, “I am a reader.” That’s why in addition to the $1 Book of the Week, we’ve created inflation-busting savings, exclusive author events, live read-aloud shows, and fun contests to get kids engaged with reading.
Thanks for reading with us! And please feel free to share your stories with me at email@example.com.
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs