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Scary Stories for Young Foxes

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  820 ratings  ·  268 reviews
Inspired by Bram Stoker, H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, a portrait of survival and a tale of friendship.

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
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…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)

Community Reviews

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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. 😅
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'twhich 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 moist
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
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, ...more
Jenna Friebel
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
2020 Newbery honor, my committee year!
Emily Duncan
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
honestly? this is one of the best books i've read this year.
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!)
Hannah Garrett
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I cant describe just how much I love this book. It reads to you like youre 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 havent 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
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.
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...
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 ...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.
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 ...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
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 ...more
Melanie (TBR and Beyond)
May 16, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2019
Thank you to Macmillian and Edelweiss for proving an E-arc in exchange for an honest review.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this because it was a Newbery Honor book this year. Not to be missed!
Krys Mcintyre
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Scary Stories for Young Foxes is both chilling and tender. I devoured it and loved every bite.
Laura Harrison
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best middle grade readers of 2019. How I would love it if it won the 2020 Newbery. It completely deserves it!
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 ...more
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was honored to receive an ARC in exchange for an honest review... and I have hesitated to write one for multiple reasons. Mainly, I dont think I have the writing skills to describe my feelings about this book. Ill try to summarize in 3 points:

1. I forced myself to stop reading twice so that I could try to savor each page. Even still, I finished it in 3 days.

2. I know what I am getting every single person on my Christmas list this year. (Hint: its this book. Not a joke.)

3. It honestly feels
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You want to know what I really thought of this book? Okay, fine! It's the best damn book Heidicker has written to date.
I've read his other two books and I knew he was good, but this one is timeless. People should be talking about this book many years from now. It feels like an old tale, something that is both terrifying and familiar, it gets to the heart of what fear is for a young and powerless person who is looking at the world through child size lenses.
At the same time, it feels fresh and
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!
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!
Will Klein
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed here at

Sometimes its not a bad thing to judge a book by its cover. I occasionally see cover art so striking that I want to buy the book just for display, regardless of whether the content is all that good. Christian McKay Heidickers novel Scary Stories for Young Foxes is one such book. With expressive and stunning cover art and the promise of similarly styled illustrations for some of the stories, I knew Id pick this book up just for how pretty it was, and
Katherine Moore
Life as a young fox is scary, with so much to learn about the dangers out there in the woods. Little foxes learn about these dangers from their mama, a masterful storyteller, or the hard way, by facing the world.
This beautifully-written and illustrated middle-grade book invites the reader to step inside the minds of little foxes, and embark on an adventure, full of the real-life challenges that they often face:
Nasty humans, vicious woodland creatures like the Golgathursh and badgers, and
Kari Yergin
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
3.5 stars. WAAAAAY creepier than I was imagining it would be for such a young audience.

A disturbing but well done collection of related tales that show the power of story and the pull that we all feel to being scared. I think its an acknowledgment that there is evil but that we feel an eternal hope that everything will end well.

Last chance to return to the den. Danger crept through the storytellers voice. Your siblings are all curled up with your mother. You could join them.
The little
Jera Petersen
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The epitome of theatrical syntax, Christian Heidickers writing is rich in detail yet clear in meaning; enveloping the perfect mix of anticipatory foreshadowing with the stomach-dropping realization of hindsight. Even if it were stripped of its magnificent attention to detail, the emotionally-charged plot and seat-edged pace of Scary Stories for Young Foxes requires that you (yes, YOU) buy this book ASAMPLR (As Soon As Miss Potter Leaves the Room) with no regard for current proximity to October ...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
Erin Kelly
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love, love, love. This is what I call an instant classic.
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