Title: Haunt Fox
Author: Jim Kjelgaard
Major Themes: Foxes, Hunting, Wilderness
Synopsis: A young fox and the young man who wants to hunt him both grow up and learn a lot about life.
When I was eight or ten years old, I loved reading Jim Kjelgaard’s books. I’ve always liked animals, and back then, this was my favorite kind of books. If I remember right, my sister bought Haunt Fox, and of course, I read it, too. I remembered really enjoying it, but hadn’t read it again until a week or two ago, when I saw it on our shelf when I was helping one of my boys choose a story for me to read aloud. I started reading it for him, and very quickly everyone wanted to listen—even Esther!
Star is the hero of Haunt Fox. He is a young dog fox, on his own with one brother at only a few months old. Then, as a blizzard introduces the two foxes to snow, a wildcat jumps out of nowhere and kills Brush as he runs just ahead of Star. Totally on his own now, and so hungry he can’t stand it, Star heads down out of the wilderness to raid a farm for the first time. Unfortunately, the young foxhound on the farm hears him, and the chase is on!
Star encounters one danger after another over the next few years, but the worst is Dade Matson, who will stop at nothing to catch the fox that he believes is his personal enemy. How can Star evade the hidden traps and find food for his mate and cubs, while keeping them, too, safe from the trapper? There were some pretty tense moments, as we wondered how Star would get out of one more predicament, and one time a lot of us burst out laughing at the way the problem ending up resolving!
This is a wonderful animal story. It does not humanize the animals at all, but shows them just the way they are in real life. Not only is a story about animals, however, but also about a young man coming of age. As Jack Crowley and his foxhound, Thunder, hunted Star, Jack matured and learned a lot about life.
WARNING: In Chapter 12, page 205, Jack’s father, Jeff makes an exclamation beginning with “cus”.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15