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The Midnight Fox

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  664 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
Tom dislikes spending the summer on his aunt's farm until he discovers a black fox in the forest and tracks her to her den.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published July 30th 1981 by Puffin Books (first published 1968)
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Kitty This refers to when the lightning flashes, when Tom goes outside in the lightning storm toward the end of the book. The lightning is what lights his…moreThis refers to when the lightning flashes, when Tom goes outside in the lightning storm toward the end of the book. The lightning is what lights his way in the darkness of night.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 29, 2010 Markelle rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the book a lot because of the enthusiasm and heart warming details it has in it. I would most definitely recommend this book to someone who loves animals or adventures.I wanted to keep reading to finish this book because it just grabs your attention with the words it just describes the characters so well and gives so much information and grabs your attention that you wont want to put it down.THe book created a heart warming feeling just a good book that will make you smile. When i rea ...more
Joy Manne
Sep 09, 2013 Joy Manne rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Joy by: Part of a Faber classics set
I declare an interest. I'm learning and aspiring to become a children's writer.
This book is character driven. The characters are rich, rounded and realistic characters. No stereotypes. No platitudes. No fear of offending. No judgements. The fat girl asks for a banana spread with peanut butter when she's stressed. Yes, that's what fat people do. They use food to manage their unhappiness. And thin people don't eat when they are stressed. That's real life. Betsy Byars has created two imaginative b
Marika Gillis
Jan 11, 2011 Marika Gillis rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Erin
The Midnight Fox is a lovely and simple story about nine-year-old Tom whose parents have decided to go on a biking tour of Europe. Much to Tom's dismay, they decide to send him to his aunt and uncle's farm for their two month vacation. While at the farm, Tom stumbles upon a black fox who lives nearby, and spends the summer observing the animal.

For a child used to exciting video games and the flashy images on a television screen, this story may be a bit slow-paced; but it is beautifully written!
Mar 23, 2013 Brenda rated it really liked it
It has been a very long time since I first read this book. I'm not sure what made it pop into my head, but I am glad it did. Right from the beginning I was hooked. What a lead!

Sometimes at night when the read is beating against the windows of my room, I think about that summer on the farm. It has been finve years, but when I close my eyes I am once again y the creek watching the black fox come leaping over the green, green grass. She is as light and free as the wind, exactly as she was the first
Mar 07, 2015 Karlie rated it did not like it
Shelves: contemporary, 1-star
This book was incredibly STUPID. the main character goes to live on a farm with his aunt and uncle for the summer, and sees a black fox. big whoop. most of the book is him thinking about or telling his aunt and uncle about things he does with his best friend. I don't even remember the main character's name; just that he's always talking about his best friend Petie Burkus. Yes, he talks about his best friend so much that I still remember his name THREE YEARS after reading the book. The only reaso ...more
Kari Yergin
Jan 08, 2017 Kari Yergin rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
This was a great winter day's read, so well written, with characters I could believe in and care about and with the creative, funny thinking of Tom and his love for the fox he discovers driving it forward.
Excerpts proving excellent writing:

The rest of the way I just sat in the backseat with my eyes closed. I started thinking about a movie I saw once where some farm people send to the orphanage for a boy, because they wanted someone to help with the hard work on the farm. Instead of the boy, t
Jul 20, 2016 Katherine rated it it was ok
Genre: Juvenile fiction, animal story
Format: Print
Plot: Tom has to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle. There he repeatedly runs into a black fox. But after the fox steals eggs from the henhouse, Tom's uncle makes it his mission to kill it.
Readers advisory: Hunting
Review citation: 1996 Booklist
Source: Best books for children
Recommended age: 8-10
Jul 05, 2008 Britt rated it liked it
Shelves: my-childhood
I read this book in fourth grade, and there are a few things that I still remember about it:

-the etchings in the suitcase
-the word "ravine"
-the scene where the main character (I can't even recall his name) has a dream where he discovers a new color
Jan 26, 2011 Leonard rated it really liked it
A fine story about a young boy having a lonely summer, but then he meets a black fox, and learns much about himself and animals.
Feb 25, 2016 Emily rated it really liked it
I gave this book 4 stars because it is sad and a little boring.
May 08, 2011 Krodger rated it it was amazing
Re-kindled my love for Betsy Byars...
Julia Brumfield
This is one book from my childhood that has such a strange past with me. For as much as a I knew about the book and the black colored fox that inhabited the pages I never read it. Yet that was all I needed to know for the book to influence me and to be bewitched by black foxes.... And so it was interest that I had the book recommended to me by a GR friend and chose to pursue it if I could find a copy.

I am surprised that I hadn't continued on and read this book when I was younger for it holds a
Nov 12, 2016 Maren rated it really liked it
This book definitely had an old-fashioned leave it to beaver vibe, character driven to the point that there is no plot, and bare bones simple. However, the voice of Tom (how old was he, ten or so?) was solidly genuine and consistent. I quite enjoyed it as a quick read.
Oct 10, 2016 Nichole rated it liked it
Shelves: homeschool
The base story is great but the side tracks that try to make the story longer and funny are not successful. They actual appear to confuse the primary story about a boy who discovers a fox while visiting his aunt and uncle's farm.
Mrs. Speckie
Oct 25, 2016 Mrs. Speckie rated it really liked it
The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars. Tom's summer is just beginning. He's looking forward to spending it with his best buddy Petie. As he's relaxing in his room, putting together a model Cessna airplane, his mom comes in and tells him what she thinks will be great news- he's going to spend the next two months on his Aunt Millie's farm! He hates the idea. This is a sweet story of a boy discovering what he is capable of, but also wants to show respect to those he loves. The story is told in the first ...more
Mar 26, 2013 Gale rated it liked it
"Growing Taller in Moral Courage”

Ten-year-old Tom resents being obliged to spend the summer at the farm of his relatives, while his parents bicycle through Europe. As an only child he amuses himself making models and indulging in crazy games of imagination with his bet pal, Petie. Sure that the two months will prove a washout, Tom arrives with quiet dignity and is outwardly obedient, but he harbors privately gloom. He rarely speaks, shows enthusiasm for their attempts to amuse him, or even gra
Dec 03, 2014 Seonaid rated it it was amazing
Izzie loved it so much she wants to give it 10 out of 5 :)

This is the story of 9 year old Tom who has to reluctantly go and spend the summer on his mother's cousins' farm whilst his parents go on holiday to Europe without him. At first he feels abandoned and resentful, unwilling to get to know these new people or this new place, but once he sees the black fox he becomes not only curious about her, but about his new environment too.

Beautifully written, humorous and tense (oh how I did not want t
Kateryna Pinchuk
Jan 21, 2016 Kateryna Pinchuk rated it it was ok
"The Midnight Fox" is written by Betsy Byars and is fictional. The genre of this book is Realistic Fiction and Mystery. I chose to read this book because of the cover. It shows a really beautiful black fox and by the title you can tell that this book is a mystery book.

This book is about Tom, boy who had to spend his summer with his Uncle and Aunty at their farmhouse because his parents were away. He disliked it very much because he had no friends and nothing to do, until one time, he was sittin
Ben Thurley
Dec 30, 2015 Ben Thurley rated it really liked it
Betsy Byars is one of my favourite children's authors, and The Midnight Fox is a great example of her craft. When Tom's parents go on holiday, he has to leave the comforts of his urban setting to spend time on his aunt and uncle's farm.

Tom's feelings about the farm shift when he observes a black fox moving across a meadow. Byar's evocation of that numinous moment of wonder and connection is beautiful nature writing in its own right and sets the scene for a tense and dramatic conclusion as Uncle
Dec 30, 2011 Isavarg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animal-novels
Over all, it is a good book, though it does have a couple of flaws. One is that the grammer is off in places (Say a poem instead of read a poem or recite a poem...) There were times in the book when I didn't like the girl Hazeline - too focused on being fat and she seemed to accept the fur industry too well, but I suppose, because it was published in the late sixites you would expect that. Because we have had our own fox families I do find that the book sums up the feelings I have about those pr ...more
Oct 22, 2011 Sabrina rated it really liked it
I have to admit that I was not terribly interested in the book when I began, but I had not choice since it was a pre-selected book for a reading group I had to teach. In the very first couple of pages I decided that the main character was whiny and unbearable and could not wait to be done. I was surprised when I finished the book to realize that I had thoroughly enjoyed the read and was even slightly disappointed that it was over. I love the main character's scenarios that play in his head about ...more
Cathy Cramer
My entering-4th grader read this as part of the required summer reading, and I read it afterwards. My child says it's the best book of the summer so far, because "animal books where the animals aren't hurt or killed" are favorites. This book's pretty good, and has enough suspense. Some of the suspense is almost misleading. I didn't like that, at the onset of the book, the boy was whiny and didn't want to try any sports, wasn't open to anything, and didn't like anything. That doesn't encourage ki ...more
Mrs. Katz
Mar 13, 2013 Mrs. Katz rated it really liked it
The Midnight Fox is about a boy named Tommy who stayed on a farm for a whole summer with his Aunt Millie, Uncle Fred and cousin. Tommy saw a fox. He wanted to learn about the fox and he did learn more about foxes. I think the author is trying to say to save animals from getting killed.

I liked this book because it is an adventure book and it leaves you thinking "what is going to happen." It is an adventure when Tommy and Uncle Fred were looking for a fox den. I would recommend this book to peopl
Dec 29, 2015 Dark-Draco rated it liked it
I think I might have read this when I was at school, but it is only a very vague memory. It's the story of a boy sent reluctantly to stay on his Aunt's farm for the Summer. At first he is bored and sulky, but then he sees a black fox and he starts to spend his days in the woods tracking her and her young cub. But when a fox gets his Aunt's turkey, he has to face a tough decision about what to do.

A nice little story with a sweet ending. Well written and great for kids. Glad I read it.
Susan Katz
This was a 5-star book for me because of its blend of lyricism and humor. Tom falls in love with the beauty of the black fox, and his summer comes to focus around his sense of connection to her and her cub. At the same time, his friendship with his best friend Petie and his cousin Hazeline add an element of the comic day-to-day. I think I remember reading somewhere that Betsy Byars said this was one of her own favorites among her many books. Mine too.
I had forgotten how I enjoy Betsy Byars' writing style. Using almost stream of consciousness she tells many stories at once. The main plot is about a boy who unwillingly goes to stay in the country and becomes involved with the life of a fox. Predictable, but the boy's thoughts wander and the reader ends up learning a lot about his friends, his life in the city, his uncle, his likes and dislikes. Nicely done.
Rodney Haydon
May 18, 2014 Rodney Haydon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up this very morning in the clearance section of Half Price Books for a dollar. The experience I felt reading it was worth much more. I don’t know if this would resonate with 10-year olds nowadays, but this is the kind of story I really enjoyed reading back then. I might as well confess that I still enjoy reading these type of stories today. Recommended.
Janith Pathirage
Aug 04, 2014 Janith Pathirage rated it it was amazing
Such a heartwarming little book. If you're having a stressful day, there's nothing better you can do than reading few pages of this book to get your mood fixed. Even though this story's for children I've no doubt that any adult can enjoy this the same. Highly recommended for anyone who misses their childhood so bad. This'll bring back lot of memories
May 11, 2016 Owen rated it really liked it
Somehow I missed this book in elementary school. It is a coming of age story about a boy who spends a summer with his aunt and uncle in the country. Well written, compelling plot line and a suspenseful ending.

Here's how you can tell this book was written in earlier time: a minor character's boyfriend tells her that he won't marry her unless she loses twenty pounds. Yikes!
Mary Ann
Mar 29, 2015 Mary Ann rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! It is an easy book to read and children can read it in a day if not interrupted. It helps if you are an animal lover. For educators, this book will generate great discussions.
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The Midnight Fox 2 10 Feb 19, 2011 02:03AM  
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Betsy Byars has written over sixty books for young people. Her first published in 1962 and since then she has published regularly. Her books have been translated into nineteen languages and she gets thousands of letters from readers in the United States and from all over the world.

She has won many awards. Among them are the Newbery Medal in 1971 for her novel The Summer of the Swans, the American
More about Betsy Byars...

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