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Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop

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Four classic fables are artfully woven together to make a single story in this lushly illustrated picture book. "The Fox and the Grapes," "The Fox and the Crow," "The Fox and the Goat," and "The Fox and the Stork" all come together to make an unusually eventful day for a tricky fox who is not quite as clever as he imagines.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published February 1, 2012

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Amy Lowry

3 books2 followers

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5 stars
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4 stars
45 (38%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews
Profile Image for Evan.
27 reviews
November 23, 2020
Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop
Author/Illustrator: Amy Lowry (Author & Illustrator) & Aesop (Author)

Reading Level: LG
Book Level: 3.7

Summary: Four of Aesop’s Fables are blended together to create one story about a fox, with each of the fables ending in a moral.

Bookshelf Mentor Writing Trait(s)
Ideas: being that this is a book made up of fables, it is hard to ignore the morals that are represented, especially in a children’s book as each can be a prime teaching moment. The first, was when the fox could not reach the grapes, with the moral being that it is easy to scorn that which you cannot obtain. The two incidents in which the fox tricks a crow and a goat prove that you should not trust flatterers and that one should look before they leap, literally. The final moral in this story is actually a trick play on the fox, and the moral of that is that one bad turn deserves another.
Organization: As previously stated, this is a story made up of four fables. I think that grouping these together to make a longer story was an excellent move, as these are all relatable, and quite teachable moments.

Other Suggestions
This would make a fantastic resource for any elementary classroom, as it could be read as a preventative text, by showing students how not to behave. It could also be reserved or reread in the case of a situation similar to any of those in the story. This book could be used in part of a social and emotional lesson, as an example of why we should treat others as we ourselves would like to be treated.
35 reviews
March 4, 2018
Motif: Clever Animals/Talking Animals
Target Audience: PreK-2nd grade

Main Characters: Fox, Crow, Goat, and Stork
Setting: Forest
Narrative: This picture book combines the four classic fables of The Fox and the Grapes, The Fox and the Crow, The Fox and the Goat, and The Fox and the Stork into one cohesive story. Fox upsets his neighbors by outsmarting them and they work together to outsmart him.

Strengths & Weaknesses:
Combining the fables into one story probably makes it more fun for children: Fox, who is very mean to his neighbors, gets his comeuppance in the end. The illustrations are interesting: while they look simple at first glance, there are many details on every page for the observant reader. Also, the author uses a fun juxtaposition of the fanciful and traditional -- the animals all live in modern looking homes, with appliances and furniture, but they're normal animals in a normal forest (Fox walks on all four legs, Stork and Crow don't wear clothes, etc.)

The language might be a lot for children to read independently ("flatterer", "headlong", or "forelegs" aren't words first graders use commonly)

Personal critique:
This is a fun retelling of the classic fables with attractive artwork. I would definitely recommend it to parents and teachers looking for a read aloud book. Also, it could be nice for strong readers at this grade level or readers who are a little more willing to struggle with strange words.

Color Illustrations

Notable awards:

Lesson Planning:
This book would be a fun way to introduce fables, discuss stories with morals, or talk about being nice to each other.
Profile Image for Laura.
28 reviews
June 28, 2020

Target Audience: Elementary (3rd-5th)
Lowry used four different fox fables and blended them together into Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop. The four fables used were The Fox and the Grapes, The Fox and the Crow, The Fox and the Goat, and The Fox and the Stork. It was very creative and blended well together. Mr. Fox missed his breakfast and tried to get grapes for lunch, but couldn’t so he called the grapes sour: it is easy to scorn what you cannot get. Next Mr. Fox flattered a crow for the crow to drop a piece of cheese: never trust a flatterer. After, Mr. Fox fell into a well and tricked a goat to get him out: look before you leap. Finally, for revenge, the crow, the goat, and a stork came together to tease him as he could not eat the stew in a long bottle, where they knew he could not be able to do, just like he had done to the stork before: one bad turn deserves another.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Asho.
1,715 reviews8 followers
August 7, 2017
My 2 1/2 year-old picked this out at the library while her older brother was browsing the myths and folk tales section. I almost didn't take it home with us because I figured it would be too advanced for her and wouldn't hold her attention, but I was wrong. She specifically requested "the fox book" and listened intently for the entire story (which wasn't actually as long as I feared it would be; I thought based on the cover that there would be four separate tales inside, but all four are woven into one relatively short story). I thought it was clever how the author wove the four Aesop fox fables together, although I do think a bit of the moral of each is lost having them woven together. Still a fun read, and would be especially intriguing for a child who already knew all four stories individually.
Profile Image for Ryen Giddings.
40 reviews
March 10, 2021
"Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop" is a great book when introducing traditional literature, it allows for the students to connect to the story themselves. This book is about a fox who tricks his fellow animal friends into doing something that only gives him personal gain. This book allows for students to have a chance at connecting text-to-self if they have ever been the fox and tricked their friends for their benefit, or if they have ever been tricked by someone who has the characteristics of the fox. In the end, the animal friends that were tricked and lied to by the fox end up playing a trick on him resulting in him being humiliated and hungry. Several lessons can be learned within the novel, such as, the importance of kindness to others and a lesson on why lying and playing tricks on others is bad.
Profile Image for Meagan Lewis.
40 reviews1 follower
February 2, 2021
Do not treat others the way you do not want to be treated is the moral of this story. Four fables were combined to create a story of a fox realizing the wrong he did to others, once he was given a taste of his own medicine. This story is a great use in the classroom to teach manners and kindness, because the mean things one might do, will come back to bite you in the end. This can be used as a reference for the students to recognize not only the wrong the the fox did, but also explain another route the other animals could have taken for the fox to understand his wrong doings.
April 6, 2021
The book “Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop” is a great book to read to 2nd or 3rd grade students because it has an amazing take away message that is “do to others how you want others to do to you”. This book follows a fox and his adventures while also showing how to treat people will determine how they treat you back. I would use this as a read aloud just for fun because it has a really great message and I think you can use it at any time in the school year.
42 reviews1 follower
February 13, 2020
This books is really great to read to kids and teach them about morals. Each time something happened to the fox, he found a way out of it and hurt the other animals instead. But in the end, he was the one who got tricked. This book also has a little explanation to each moral at the end, which is really helpful also!
40 reviews
April 12, 2021
This book teaches young children that it is not okay to treat people badly. You treat people the way you want to be treated. The fox was not a friendly character, he got a taste of his own medicine.
23 reviews
October 12, 2015
Title: Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop
Author: Amy Lowry
Genre: Fable
Theme(s): Good and Evil
Opening line/sentence: “The fox was cranky. He had slept through breakfast, and his stomach growled.”
Brief Book Summary: This story is about four fable coming together to make one story. It is a combination of “The Fox and the Grape”, “The Fox and the Crow”, “The Fox and the Goat”, and “The Fox and the Stork”. All of these animals trick the fox and he finally leaves them alone.
Professional Recommendation/Review #1:
Lowry, Amy Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop
32 pp. Holiday 2012. ISBN 978-0-8234-2400-9 (2) PS
Stringing together four familiar tales, Lowry tells how a fox dupes three other animals and then is duped in return. In outline, the stories are as usual, though updated a bit. Lowry's spacious, elegant gouache and pencil art features simply drawn yet expressive figures reenacting the events in settings enlivened with just a few interesting details. Altogether, an inviting introduction to Aesop.
(The Horn Book Guide Online)
Professional Recommendation/Review #2:
Kirkus Reviews
Four of Aesop's familiar fables feature wily fox shamelessly tricking his fellow creatures, followed by their gleeful retaliation, strung together in one continuous if episodic narrative. First, hungry fox fails to retrieve a luscious bunch of grapes from a tree. To save his dignity, fox announces the grapes "are quite sour," proving it's "easy to scorn what you cannot get." Then, fox encounters crow with cheese in her beak. When fox cleverly asks if crows really do have amazing voices, crow opens her mouth to caw, dropping the cheese. As he gobbles crow's cheese, fox moralizes, "never trust a flatterer." In his smugness at this victory, fox stumbles into a well--and then tricks hapless goat into helping him escape. Leaving goat in the well, fox warns to "look before you leap." And finally, "one bad turn deserves another," when goat, crow and stork give fox his just deserts. Lowry cleverly incorporates the four fables into a single story sequence with each fable adding to the theme of fox's self-centered dishonesty. Pale gouache-and-pencil illustrations in muted greens, browns and greys provide a subdued, understated backdrop to fox's self-serving antics while emphasizing the very human behavior of each animal character. Four fable favorites cleverly repackaged. (author's note, morals) (Picture book. 4-8)
Response to Two Professional Reviews:
Both of these reviews reflect on the story and how this story combines four different fables to make one. They also brought up the illustrations and how they show subdue and antics throughout the story. The Kirkus review from the CLCD gave the reader a little more information on what happened in the story and used direct quotes to back that up.
Evaluation of Literary Elements:
The Fox in this story was creating conflict with the Crow, Goat, and the Stork. He was eating their food and was very rude to all of them. This makes the Fox the protagonist, he is the main character, and the antagonist characters are the Crow, Goat, and the Stork because they are against the Fox.
Consideration of Instructional Application: I would use this story in a second to fourth grade classroom. Since this story is about four different fables this would open up conversation about the four fables that this story incorporates, which will further discussion. For an activity I would have my students create their own scene in the story to make it their own, which they would be able to share with the class.
Profile Image for Maria Celis.
39 reviews
March 2, 2014
Lowry, Amy. Fox Tails: Four Fables from Aesop (2012). A wily fox encounters a long but eventful day involving other animals, unattainable grapes, cheese, a well, and a difficult meal. This collection of four Aesop fables retold with a modern rendition shot as one story still conveys the explicit morals and memorable sayings of the original socially instructional tales. Author, Amy Lowry, also illustrates this story with paintings that are simply washed in mute colors with white backgrounds and distinct lines that characteristically draws out the characters and their facial expressions. The four fables embedded as one long story make this picture book an easy read-aloud with easy transitional pauses between each fable’s signature moral for child readers to reflect upon. Ages 4-7.

A helpful historical background on fables is provided in the Author's Note on the last page.
Profile Image for Laura.
2,045 reviews42 followers
February 16, 2013
Amy Lowry weaves together 4 classic fables from Aesop into an effective narrative. The moral of each fable is stated by the fox and not presented as a separate ending, as is common in many Aesop collections. Beginning with the sour grapes, Lowry's charming fox then flatters a crow to get some cheese and tricks a goat into helping him out of a well. I found the final fable and ending a bit less successful than the first 3 fables -- the fox's friends invite him over and then return a bad turn.

Recommended for elementary school library collections, especially in schools with a high demand for fables or that need some freshening up. My 3rd graders liked the story and enjoyed the illustrations of the fox.
Profile Image for Barbara.
12.9k reviews266 followers
September 26, 2012
Cleverly blending four classic fables from Aesop into one seamless story showing the untrustworthiness of the wily fox, the author shows him getting what he deserves in the end after he plays one too many tricks on those around him. The author explains each story's moral in the back matter. The gouache and pencil illustrations are particularly appealing and fit the fables perfectly. Young readers will smile at the fox's frustration as he frustratedly tries to enjoy stew poured into a narrow-necked jar. I'm always pleased to see classic fables getting a fresh coat of paint, and this book serves them up perfectly.
Profile Image for Sarah VanDyke.
29 reviews
February 10, 2014
I liked this book because it incorporates four fables into one story. The author also makes the morals and themes obvious. The fables are from a person named Aesop. Without reading the author's note, I would not have known this. I believe a study or introduction about Aesop would be beneficial. I could use this book to introduce fables and their purpose. Students could create this own fable after reading the story. I would recommend this book because it can be used in many ways and can be used for detailed discussion and reflection. This book makes me want to read more fables and see what moral is being focused on in the story. Overall, a good introduction to fables.
49 reviews1 follower
April 16, 2013
This book is four fables woven together in a form of morals. Each of the stories has a different moral and they all intertwine in the end. The main character, Fox, and supporting characters, Crow, Goat, and the stork. Through different encounters amongst each animal the story presents different fable and a final moral at the end. Its illustrations are simple watercolors. I think it would be a good book for the classroom because it has important morals that are good for everyone to hear and definitely young children.
Profile Image for Susan.
175 reviews
June 30, 2014
Interweaving four classic fables: The Fox and the Grapes, The Fox and the Crow, The Fox and the Goat and The Fox and the Stork we see fox both as the trickster he is and getting his comeuppance in this busy day. An interesting look at the role of the fox in Aesop’s fables and a great way to stimulate discussion during a unit on fables.

103 reviews
June 15, 2016
This story takes four tales from Aesop and turns them into a single day in the life of fox. In doing so it leaves out a lot from the original. The message also seems to blur from fox getting what he deserved for his bad behavior to fox just really having a bad day. I do not think I will use this version in my classroom. The original is better.
Profile Image for Great Books.
2,922 reviews54 followers
March 9, 2012
Because one fable is never enough, this collection of four familiar fables is woven together into one story. Though the fox tricks the crow and goat early on, the stork helps them outwit the fox in the end. Reviewer 11.
Profile Image for Beth Kakuma-Depew.
1,626 reviews17 followers
April 24, 2012
very successful story that integrates four fables into one picture book. The last one, about the Fox and the Heron was a bit problematic, because my kids has never seen a heron drink, and also because the moral, One Bad Turn Deserves Another, is not very, um, nice?
Profile Image for Kelly.
196 reviews13 followers
November 29, 2014
The illustrations are good, the colors are fairly muted, and there are several clever and quirky flourishes I picked out in my first reading. I quite liked the type (McKracken.) The stories themselves are familiar and well-portrayed for a young audience.
Profile Image for Deana.
590 reviews31 followers
December 27, 2014
Bought as a Christmas gift for a 5 year old nephew who loves foxes. It's told as a single story, but incorporates four of Aesops fables as the story moves along, so it's a good introduction to Aesop. Additionally, the artwork is quite nice!
109 reviews
October 5, 2016
This book is a fantastic combination of four separate fables. Following the story of a tricky little fox, this book has a not so happy ending for him. After he tricked the goat, stork, and crow, they finally get their own form of revenge on Mr. Fox.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews

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