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Scary Stories for Young Foxes

(Scary Stories for Young Foxes #1)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  2,440 ratings  ·  651 reviews
The haunted season has arrived in the Antler Wood. No fox kit is safe.

When Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they discover a dangerous world full of monsters. In order to find a den to call home, they must venture through field and forest, facing unspeakable things that dwell in the darkness: a zombie who hungers for their flesh, a witch who tries to steal thei
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by Henry Holt and Company
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Jen YES it's scary. However, I don't agree that with the description that it's "National Geographic scary". I feel that applies to some parts of the book,…moreYES it's scary. However, I don't agree that with the description that it's "National Geographic scary". I feel that applies to some parts of the book, but not all. National Geographic doesn't generally deal with the abusive themes brought up in this book. Yes, it all happens in real life, but this book is extremely emotionally and psychologically scary in ways that NatGeo specials aren't. (At least, none of the NatGeo shows that I've ever seen.) . Read with caution. And I would not recommend giving this to children without reading it first and making sure that you think they can handle it AND without you being willing to discuss the book as they read.(less)
Christian McKay Excellent question, Me.

(Those of you who want a wholly pure experience going in should probably stop reading nnnnnnnnnnnow.)

It's a short story collec…more
Excellent question, Me.

(Those of you who want a wholly pure experience going in should probably stop reading nnnnnnnnnnnow.)

It's a short story collection . . . with all the walls knocked down between the stories to create a novel. The same characters wind their way through from whiskers to tail, and they grow with each new horrifying encounter.

So if you don't enjoy short story collections (they are woefully underread these days), fear not! (Well, um, fear. Just don't fear the novel's structure.) And if you know some reluctant young readers, assure them that the stories and chapters have been nibbled up into perfectly digestible bits to be read before bedtime.

Although, if you're anything like my friends, you might want to read it while the sun is still shining.(less)

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[Book #5 for my grad school Children's Lit class] ...more


this middle grade horror book is a hundred and a half times better and darker than anything i read during my own middle grade years.

it's a framed tale of seven fox kits who, one chilly autumn night, are hungry for scary stories—far scarier than the babyish ones their dear old fox mum knows.

in what may very well be a br'er rabbit anti-warning, she plants a seed in their little fox heads:

"Sorry to be a disappointment," their mom said, lying down. She paused and looke
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
4.5 stars!


Final review first posted on

One chilly autumn night, seven fox kits beg their mother for a scary story, “so scary our eyes fall out of our heads.” Don’t go to the Bog Cavern, she tells them, because the old storyteller lives there, and the tale she would tell them would be so scary it would put white in their tails. So naturally the seven kits scamper off through the woods to the Bog Cavern as soon as their mother is asleep, and beg the spooky-looking storytelle
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
"All scary stories have two sides," the storyteller said. "Like the bright and dark of the moon. If you're brave enough to listen and wise enough to stay to the end, the stories can shine a light on the good in the world. They can guide your muzzles. They can help you survive."

The author takes real vulpine fears like rabies, silver traps with teeth, humans looking for a fox's skin . . . and spins them into spooky campfire tales.


Like the moon, this book has a dark side. Many cute critters die.
Horror. Kids eat that stuff up with a spoon. At some point in a human life, a little switch gets flipped in the brain and suddenly, instead of dreading that moment at night when you clutch your bed sheets and pull them over your head, you seek it out. And book publishers, realizing that kids love scary stories, have turned them into a neat and tidy little industry. How else to explain the popularity of series like Goosebumps or the never-unpopular Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark? Actually, Go ...more
Mary S. R.
What am I supposed to do with my life now? Huh? Where was this treasure when I was 10? WHERE.

I'm salty (from bitterness as well as tears) and I hate you and I will get back to you tomorrow about all the reasons you need this book in your life, and all the reasons you don't—which are none.

RTC tomorrow

• • • • • •

Christian McLay Heidicker's middle-grade novel, a thrilling portrait of survival and an unforgettable tale of friendship.

*Sighs* why was this book not there when I was a kid playing on the
Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
Okay, you got me!

As a young sassy library fox there's no universe or parallel world in which I could have resisted this kind of temptation.

Fox stories!? Yes, please, thank you! XD

P.S: Is it just me or are there so many great new releases!? My TBR is growing again. 😅
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love foxes. I just . . . I love them so much, guys! So every time I find a picture book about foxes, or there's a fox in any kind of book I have to have it, and I'm so excited! But then often sad. Not so much in the picture books, but in the middle grade books where foxes DIE all the time and it's horrible and unnecessary and full of moralizing and all Black Beauty-esque. (Seriously people, WTH? Let. The. Foxes. Be.)

I had decided after Pax that I would stick to picture book foxes, but then I
Jenna Friebel
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
2020 Newbery honor, my committee year!
Dec 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not all Newbery winners have the same feel. The awards committee has often favored historical fiction and social progress narratives, but Christian McKay Heidicker's Scary Stories for Young Foxes, a 2020 Newbery Honor recipient, breaks from the norm. The book begins with seven fox kits anxious for a break from the tedium of their mother's den. After she mentions the "old storyteller" at Bog Cavern, the kits sneak off under cover of night to learn for themselves if the storyteller's tales are as ...more
Feb 26, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
How many ways can I hate this book?
1. Beatrix Potter as an evil taxidermist who kills animals when she's finished drawing them? WTF, Dude! Potter did more singlehandedly for animal and land conservation than anyone of her era. I know, when she was a student she once boiled the meat off a dead rabbit (she did not kill it) so she could study its anatomy, but what's the point of turning her into Hansel and Gretel's Witch? I hope The Beatrix Potter Society sends you a stiff letter of reproof and tu
Fabulous! I just listened to Christian read it via Instagram Live, and it was such a soothing way to spend several afternoons! He's an excellent reader (and he's going to read the audiobook), and I hadn't forgotten how amazing the book was, but I had forgotten a lot of the little details. Like how stunning the art is, and how horrible Mr. Scratch really is. Such a great book, I'm so pleased it got a Newbery honor, because I need more people to read it! ...more
Emily Duncan
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
honestly? this is one of the best books i've read this year. ...more
These foxes are enchanting and in constant peril. Your heart will break over and over again and you will never feel good about reading Peter Rabbit again.

I hear it all the time from grown-ups, "I just don't like talking animal books." We get it, you're grown, and you don't want to be seen crying over dead spiders, or artistic apes, or mouse knights. So, don't pay attention to this review.
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully, BEAUTIFULLY written and described, fantastically imaginative, and amazingly atmospheric- a little like Watership Down and Rabbit Hill meets Stephen King, but tamer with the creepies and grossnesses. It's a bit sad, but real. (Oh, and, boy, does Beatrix Potter get thrown under the bus. Geez. Not sure how I feel about that!) ...more
Hannah Garrett
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can’t describe just how much I love this book. It reads to you like you’re one of the foxes, listening to the sage storyteller. You travel through tall grass, wind between trees in the forest, smell purple, jump over large barriers, and feel everything Mia and Uly feel. Each story has a distinctness, and also carries a thread from beginning to end. I haven’t cried at the end of a book as much as I did with this one. Tears of joy and sorrow. But mostly feeling like I immediately missed reading ...more
Vikki VanSickle
Unique and satisfyingly creepy, this middle grade novel has shades of PAX, but in the hands of Guillermo del Toro. Seven short stories are told to a group of kits by a mysterious storyteller, ultimately linked in a greater narrative that reveals itself slowly. The stories are atmospheric, dark, and often violent. The world of the foxes is dangerous and made rich with Heidicker's fox lexicon ("the yellow" for rabies, humans wear "extra skins" instead of clothes, etc). Maybe not for the faintest o ...more
Jordan Henrichs
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Has the structure of A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz and the prose of The Underneath by Kathi Appelt. More unforgiving and violent than I was expecting, but hopeful and engrossing at the same time. Such a unique book, but one I liked a lot!
Dan Poblocki
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
So, this was astonishingly good. Really difficult to read if, like me, you have trouble watching nature shows on TV in which animals are hunted and killed by each other. But hey, that's what makes these "stories" so scary... ...more
Abby Johnson
Wow. That was.. definitely something. I loved some things about it and I viscerally disliked other things about it. I bet this was a fascinating discussion around the Newbery table!
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fox Lovers / Young Readers Who Enjoy Animal Fiction
Eager for scary stories, six fox kits sneak away from their den in the Antler Wood and make their way to Bog Cavern, where the old storyteller regales them with the tale of two young foxes, born of different families, whose youthful misfortunes bring them together. When all of Mia's siblings, as well as her tutor Miss Vix are stricken by the "yellow disease," she and her mother set off into exile, only to become separated when they run afoul of an unexpected human enemy, in the form of (view spo ...more
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly written. I started reading and only stopped when I went to get a hoodie and blanket to keep from shivering- the scary story kind of shivering- where you curl up under a blanket and peek out because you *have* to know what happens next. For some reason, I expected this book to be... well... NOT scary. I had to keep reminding myself that I am not a young fox, and badgers and steel traps and humans are not *that* scary. And yet, these young foxes' fight for survival feels incredibly rea ...more
Carolyn Klassen
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Just the right amount of scary for kids who like scary things. Not too predictable. All kinds of danger met these fox friends. Rabies (depicted quite horrifyingly), hunters and taxidermists, a sadistic father of a disabled fox, and swamp monsters. Intermingled are short passages of little foxes being told these scary stories by a storyteller and as the novel progresses, individual kits decide they've had enough scares and decide to return home to mama. It makes it okay and normal for kids to sel ...more
Ernest Robertson
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got my hands on an Advance Reader's Edition, and wow.

I'm not going to say much, out of fear of spoiling something, so I'll leave it at this:

Edge of the seat thriller.
Incredible use of language that puts me 100% into the minds of these poor fox kits.
Stayed with me long after the read.
A new addition to my list of all-time favorite books.
Tasha Robinson
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know that I'd give this book to a child, or read it to a child, or condone a child reading it. But it's exactly the kind of book I would have treasured as a child, because it's dark and violent and spooky and full of fear and sickness and death, all the stuff children's books normally avoid. This is a novel told in installments that somewhat mimic short stories, but it's really a single story with a frame story that it frequently returns to, as the main story is told to a litter of young ...more
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can count on one hand the number of books for which I was so worried about the outcome that I had to peek at the ending, and this chapter book for young readers was one of them!

The author does not hide nature red in tooth and claw from his readers, but there is also enough adventure, humor, and sweetness to not make the story a complete scare-fest.

In the middle of the book there was an unexpectedly grotesque and shocking section which casts a figure of classic children's literature into a gr
Michael Stewart
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, middle-grade
A thoroughly enjoyable read for kids and adults alike.

There are a couple of things I will note beyond the fact that this is an excellent story, which drove me to read on well into the night. The first is that the care the author took in writing this is wildly apparent. I can almost imagine him creeping about the woods in an effort to understand exactly how a fox kit might feel, limping along on three legs, and then deliberating on how to translate that into a foxish lexicon.

And, secondly, this
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book touched all of my little heart and soul strings in all the right places! Lured me in and made me reflect on love, life and loss. Exactly what I needed to read!
Ms. B
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nature can be so cruel (view spoiler) in this animal story for young readers looking for a scary book. ...more
Tanya Ball
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was SUCH a pleasant surprise!!

I purchased the book after reading the synopsis, but really expected something more ”cute” than ”spooky.” After all, when I was in first and second grade, I would borrow Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz from my teacher’s library to read during silent reading. I delighted in the stories and gore rather than being scared. Thirty years later, reality scares me more than fiction and it seems MG steps lightly around anything graphic.

Cue to C
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A New All-Time Favorite! 1 4 Mar 13, 2019 09:38AM  

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“All scary stories have two sides...Like the bright and dark of the moon. If you're brave enough to listen and wise enough to stay to the end, the stories can shine a light on the good in the world. They can guide your muzzles. They can help you survive...But...if you don't listen closely...if you turn tail from the horror and don't stay till the end, then the darkness of the story can swallow all hope. It can frighten you so deeply you'll never want to leave your den again. You'll waste away the days with your mother, forever smelling like her milk.” 1 likes
“Sometimes...there's a fire in the fields. A lot of foxes will breathe the smoke...But from the ashes, the trees will grow back greener, better than before. And there will be lots of good things to eat. And even though the fire was scary, and even though it took some foxes away...the other foxes will remember. They'll remember the foxes who died. They'll remember the smell of the smoke. And they'll tell all their friends and siblings and kits about it so that it never has to happen again. And all the foxes will live happily ever after...Or as happy as they can be, at least.” 1 likes
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