Genre: Animals / Folktale / England / Trickery
Year Published: 1982
Year Read: 2015
Publisher: Clarion Books
Wow! I have certainly been on the roll when it comes to reading Paul Galdone’s books! So, I just recently stumbled upon another picture book written and illustrated by Paul Galdone called “What’s In Fox’s Sack?” which is based off an old English tale and man, was it a pretty interesting tale!
The story starts off with Fox finding a big bumblebee in the ground and he decides to put the bumblebee into his sack. Later on, Fox meets up with a very little woman and he asks her to watch his sack while he goes off to visit his friend Squintum. After Fox had left, the very little woman looked into the sack anyway and out flew the bumblebee, who ends up being gobbled by the very little woman’s rooster. When Fox comes back, the very little woman confessed to Fox that she opened the sack and her rooster ate up the bumblebee after it flew out of the sack. So, Fox decides to put the very little woman’s rooster into the sack instead and he continues to travel across the village, meeting up with different women while getting many different creatures into his sack!
I have read many folktales that deal with tricksters trying to get want they want in various ways, but I have never read a tale where said trickster uses a normal sack to capture his prey in exchange for something much bigger and better! Paul Galdone has done an excellent job at retelling this ancient English folktale as it shows how trickery against innocent bystanders can have its own consequences and I really enjoyed seeing Fox going to different houses in each page and put something even bigger and better than the last prey he captures into his sack, such as putting a rooster from a little lady into his sack to putting a pig from a very big woman into his sack after the rooster escapes from the sack. I also loved how unique this story is since I had never read a story that dealt with the trickster tricking everyone he meets by taking their possessions and putting them into his sack while he looks for a much larger prey on his journey through the village. Paul Galdone’s artwork is as usual gorgeous to look at as the characters look so scratchy and yet they really convey the traditional sense of this story, especially of the images of Fox looking so sneaky whenever he is taking his sack to different places in the village.
Overall, “What’s in Fox’s Sack?” is a truly fantastic book about tricky animals and I am sure that children and parents will enjoy this book for many years! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.