Owen Davey

Foxly is hungry, very hungry. As he takes a walk in the wood, he comes across an abandoned picnic. This gives him an idea, and idea for a feast! So we follow him as he calls on the chickens, ducks, fish, mice, rabbits, sheep to invite them to his feast, accompanied by a rather cute and unsuspecting little owl. What is Foxly plotting? Surely he is not mean and greedy enough as to want to eat them all? Finally, he sets up all that is needed for the feast, he gets hold of his knife and fork, he licks his chops and leans over rather keenly over our little owl and ….

Well, I am not going to spoil this for you, because the end is a real treat!

This wordless tale is a real delight. What struck me at first with this book is the palette of colour which is absolutely gorgeous; the colours are really warm, compliment the red coat of the fox and give a lovely vintage and nostalgic feel to the book. The storyline is very simple but the book not simplistic in any way. You cannot help but be reminded of Rosie’s Walk for many reasons, but this is another breed of fox altogether! It is just as witty as the Pat Hutchins classic, but very much has a modern feel, with a lovely moral on not judging people (and animals) on first impressions. Just like with Rosie’s Walk, the story’s strength is in how much the illustrations say, rather than the (absent) text; the artwork has real dynamism which in fact means that one does not miss the text. This allows for endless elaborations on what the characters could be saying and thinking, which is of course great fun, and also a particularly good way of developing visual literacy. Succeeding in creating a wordless book is not easily achieved and Owen Davey has done brilliantly.

Owen Davey was highly commended by the Macmillan Prize in 2009 for this title, which is awarded to illustration students for outstanding work and I wish him a long and successful career. It’s got off to a great start!