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The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night
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The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  923 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
A timeless folk song provides inspiration for some of the funniest, brightest drawings Peter Spier has ever produced. In the song, a fox forages for food in the village to bring to his family back in the den. The music is also included so everyone can sing along.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published July 1st 1994 by Dragonfly Books (first published 1961)
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Jan 18, 2015 Manybooks rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: adults and children interested in folksongs and their adaptations
It is really too bad that my library does not have a copy of this book, but due to all of the glowing reviews and the fact that I love folksong adaptations, I finally and successfully tried Interlibrary Loan (and read The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night whilst listening to Custer LaRue's magical rendition of the song, on her album Custer LaRue Sings the Daemon Lover, which I can strongly recommend).

The fact that the fox goes to kill a goose to feed his family is, I think, a perfect point of disc
Jan 14, 2015 SamZ rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caldecott
1962 Caldecott Honor.
I first heard this folk song when I was in high school, and thought it was a funny tale; so I was pleasantly surprised when I found it on the Caldecott list.
I really loved the detailed illustrations and fall coloring used throughout this story, it just made this book such a pleasure to read. I found myself singing the song to myself throughout the rest of the day. The edition I read was an anniversary edition that had all of the pages colored (originally only half were colo
Mar 26, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it
**** Caldecott Honor (1962) ****

I read this accompanied by a CD with audio of the story and song performed by Tom Chapin. It's funny how actually hearing the song and the story played out with music can transform this old folk tune into a foot tapping fun time. This story really comes alive when played out with music.

Apr 01, 2014 Kristen rated it it was ok
This was an interesting one. It’s about an old folk song. It tells a story of a fox who goes searching for food for his family, and ends up raiding a farmers goose house. Its interesting because when the fox is in the goose house, he seems as if he is a real animal, but when he lives in a house, that has furniture in it, and they prepare the food and eat it at a table, They act like humans which is obviously something real animals do not do. The drawings were very detailed, but I did not like th ...more
The words are from an old folk song. It is not a song I recognize, but it does contain the music score and lyrics at the back. The edition I read is a new edition redone in 2013 where Spier has added color to every page. (An author's note at the end explains how this book came about and that when it was originally published, the publishers printed one side of the page in black and white and one side in color. In 2013, he was asked to add color to the black and white pages.).

The illustrations ar
Mar 07, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it
Lola loved this book so much; she amazed me by memorizing it and singing it within a few readings.
Dec 13, 2016 Jessa rated it it was ok
This was interesting because as it turns out it is actually a song! After looking it up on YouTube, it made it much easier to read!

I chose this as one of my early childhood books. Caldecott Honor Book (2 pts.)
Shanna Gonzalez
Aug 14, 2009 Shanna Gonzalez rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-04-08
The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night is a wonderful old folk song telling the ageless story of a fox who raids a farmer's goose house and brings his kill home to his family. Peter Spier's detailed and charming drawings bring the story to dramatic life with alternately black-and-white and colored illustrations.

The anthropomorphism of the fox is playfully developed, somewhat reminiscent of Beatrix Potter's animal character development. As the fox raids the goose house he acts very much like a realis
Becky B
A fox goes out hunting to provide food for his family and wakes up some of the residents in the historical New England town with his thievery. The text is a folk song. (Music for the song is provided in the back of the book.)

I really liked the ink illustrations in this book and can see why Spier won an award for them. Each spread varies between color and black and white, but whether there's color or not, the amount of detail is stunning. Spier picked a colonial New England setting for the illust
Justin Myerson
Oct 12, 2016 Justin Myerson rated it really liked it
Shelves: nursery-rhymes
Awards: Caldecott Honor
This book is about a fox who ventures his way into the local village looking for dinner for his family. He breaks into a barn and steals two geese to bring back to his den. The fox alerts the people in the village and the fox is chased out of the village and returns to his family to feast on the geese.
This book is interesting because it probably wouldn't be written today due to the violent nature of foxes and how they find their food. Even though this book may be a little
Oct 14, 2010 Vivian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
If you are fortunate enough to have a recording of Odetta singing this ballad cue up your c.d., turn the volume all the way up, and simply turn the pages to the color double-page spreads. If you do not have a recording, the music is in the back of the book. This is the perfect finish for a story program on foxes.

We finished with a craft activity featured in a Your Big Back Yard magazine-- a fox bookmark made from an envelope. Place on tables supplies such as scissors, crayons, glue, wiggle eyes,
Karly Winters
Jun 15, 2015 Karly Winters rated it did not like it
This was a strange book to read because first off, it isn't even an original story. It is actually an old song where the lyrics were broken up and then placed on pages and then illustrated by Peter Spier. It was kind of confusing to read, and it was easy to get lost to in the story since it isn't a clear story to read. Yet, the pictures were incredibly well-drawn and colored. There are a lot of details included in the picture. I also thought it was interesting that it switched in between colored ...more
I do like Peter Spier's illustrations - although it took me a bit to get used to the alternating pages of color and black and white. The level of detail is amazing! This was a Caldecott Honor in 1962.

On the back of the book they call the text a "timeless folk song." I've never heard it, and maybe it doesn't feel so harsh when you're just singing it, but seeing the fox so gleefully sneak into the farm and first TELL the ducks and geese that they will "grease his chin" and then actually seeing him
This picture book is based on an old folk song by Burl Ives of a fox who steals a goose for his family's dinner.
I read the book and listened to two different recordings of the song, one by Tom Chopin and another by Molly Scott. I think it works much better as a song, it flows better. I think this book would best be enjoyed listening to a recording, with the book in front of you.
I really enjoyed the picture book illustrations and it deserves the Caldecott Honor it received. I looked at both the
Another book based off a folk song, I was curious to see what he could do after reading his Caldecott Medal-winning book "Noah's Ark." Spier's artwork, which alternates between black & white and color, is just as detailed as that book, although the subject matter in this book is definitely not for younger children. A fox has gone to a farm to get food for his family, and catches and kills a duck and a goose. He has to run quickly back home with his spoils to avoid the angry farmer. Once he g ...more
The original Caldecott Honor winning edition of this book published in 1961 was only half in color. For this new edition, Spier has added color to the illustrations originally in black-and-white. Though more than 50 years passed in between, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to distinguish between what was done decades ago and what was done more recently. The pictures are vibrantly colored and perfectly capture the look and feel of New England in fall. The text itself is an old folk song and f ...more
Emma Cisar
Mar 21, 2016 Emma Cisar rated it liked it
Shelves: edrd-314
I enjoyed this book due to the detail in the illustrations, the change from color/black & white, and the fun repetition throughout the pages. The pictures are extremely detailed which creates a vivid story along with the words. Also, every other page is in black and white which extenuates the power of lines used in the small town/farm scene. Every other page has some rhythm to "bones-o, bones-o, bones-o" or "the fox is in the town-o" which creates repetition and a tune to the book. I enjoyed ...more
Sep 08, 2011 Ilana rated it it was ok
A Caldecott Honor book based on on an old song by Burl Ives from 1945. This book by Peter Spier was published in 1961. I know it is supposed to be a folk type, old time song, but I just didn't really enjoy it as much as so many other old tales or books by this author. It takes place long ago and tells of a fox going into a town and stealing a goose and duck for his family to eat. I did like the very detailed illustrations and the pattern of black and white pages to color pages on every other pag ...more
Dec 07, 2014 Heather rated it it was amazing
Paul was obsessed with this book all last fall. We wore our copy ragged. The illustrations are particularly wonderful with lots of detail to pick out. (And I entertain myself by trying to figure out the setting: New England or Virginia?) Katrina and Nerissa Nields recorded a great version of the song on one of their kid albums -- it's more fun when you can sing as you read.

*** Some people have noted the alternating pages of black and white and color. I think, in some editions, the pictures are a
This story was very interesting, I'm not sure how well it would have survived if it had been published today. I thought that the idea of taking an old song and turning it into a children's picture book was a nice idea, but to me, it just didn't fly over very well. I was slightly annoyed with having to repeat the same line over again on the next page. Not a book that I'm planning on reading again.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Jul 02, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
I really love Peter Spier's illustrations. They're so enchanting, detailed, and old-fashioned. This book was a fun idea - using a folk song as the text of the book. We have chickens, so I'm afraid I wasn't on the side of the fox as the book seems to be. Well, I don't know really. I think the song just reveals the craftiness of fox and that he must feed his family. Still, I couldn't cheer for him, because I wouldn't like him to make my hens his dinner, no matter how many children he has to feed! ...more
Ashleigh Entwistle
Sep 01, 2016 Ashleigh Entwistle rated it it was amazing
The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night by Peter Spier (1961)

The illustrations of this book is magnificent and they go right with words. The pictures are like one with the book. I love how it goes from black and white, the perfect combination. The author really knows to capture the readers attention. Even if you don't read the words, you can clearly understand what happens in the book/song by looking at the pictures. I really like this book/song.
What made this book so great was being able to sing the song. I love this tune! The pictures are beautiful too. My daughter sat still through the whole thing, but it was probably the singing instead of the tale.

That thieving fox is pretty naughty, but he does it for a reason. The farmer and his wife should have been a little more careful with their geese is the take home message. You can't blame wild animals for trying to feed their families after all!
This song isn't in my repituar or memory, but I did find someone singing it on YouTube; This Caldecott Honor Book illustrates each stanza of this folk song. Perfect addition to a music teachers collection. There is even an illustrated piece of sheet music and the lyrics at the back of the book. Artist notes written in 2013 are also included. Yes this book has a copyright date of 1961, but folksongs and great work never go out of style.
Kristine Hansen
Oct 19, 2013 Kristine Hansen rated it it was amazing
The detail of the drawings, the juxtaoposition between the black and white and full color, the cleverness of the fox's den and everything in between makes this the perfect story to just drink in and enjoy. The words are from a song I've never heard of but would be fun to sing while reading. But pause to take in the pictures and enjoy all the detail. I couldn't get enough of them. Fun story though the faint-hearted might have some qualms over the fate of the goose and duck.
Nov 21, 2011 Ed rated it really liked it
Shelves: nerdcott-2012
I really love this book, especially since the music to the song is included in the back. I played the song on guitar for my son after we read the book and that was fun. The only major issue I have is that they cut one of the repeated lines from the song out of the book (the little ones chewed on the bones-o). I only noticed because I was trying to sing the song out of the book, and suddenly I thought I had skipped a page, but it turns out the illustrator did. Oh well, still a great book.
Mar 10, 2015 Alice rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
I have never heard this song. Thanks to Nicklecreek I got a feel for the song

I really like the pictures. The ones in color especially. I am trying understand why every other page is color or black and white. I thought maybe it was to tell the story better . I guess the black and white pictures don't have the fox and the colored pictures the fox is doing his naughty deeds!!

So.. thanks for the fun!
Rachel Watkins
Dec 25, 2013 Rachel Watkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, picture-book
When originally published in 1961, only half of the illustrations were in color - due to cost. After over a half-century, Mr. Spier was asked to go back and complete the illustrations and he successfully matched the watercolors! Spier's note at the end of this illustrated folk tale is marvelous. This is a beautiful book, especially for those interested in preserving folk tales for future generations.
This was one of my favorite books when I was little, which kind of surprises me considering how sensitive I was and the fate of the geese in the book. The original book had mostly black and white illustrations and some color spreads, but this rerelease is all in color and is so beautiful. There is an interesting section at the back of the book in which Spier talks about the background of the picture book. Nice to see this one again - it's been years!
Dec 11, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book
Venerable illustrator Peter Spier has added color to all the pages of his 1961 Caldecott honor book (it was originally printed with only half of the pages in color to save money.) This classic version on the well-loved folk song still feels fresh- the New England setting looks all the better fully colored and Spier matched the original colors perfectly. And endnote with reflections from Spier is a nice touch.
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