Review Blog

Sep 09 2013

The fabulous Finola Fox by Carmel Bird

cover image

Ill. by Kerry Argent. Penguin/Viking, 2013. ISBN 9780670029488.
(Age: 4+) Warmly recommended. Picture book. Shoes. Family. Finola Fox is a shoe fetishist. Whenever she sees shoes, she must have them, so spirits them away in her capacious handbag, taking them home where she stores them in rows in her cellar.  She hopes one day to be able to open a museum to display them all, but until then, she busies herself arranging them all. She notices that one shoe is alone. It was a glamorous jewelled and feathered shoe that she found in an alleyway last summer.
She sets out to find its pair. She goes to the wonderful hotel, the art gallery, the Botanic Gardens and the Opera House, all to no avail. Outside the Opera House, she notices a pair of green sandals getting into  a limousine. About to follow the car, she is stopped by another fox who introduces himself as Frederick, who asks her what she is searching for. He surprises her by telling her that he thinks he knows just where to look. Together they find the missing shoe and return to her house which Frederick thinks is an ideal place for the museum.
This is a charming tale of coming together, like a pair of shoes. The two foxes find each other in the streets of Sydney, and together find the shoe Finola is searching for. The pair of shoes parallels the two foxes in finding a friend, a mate, a companion.
Argent's illustrations are just wonderful. She has an amazing collection of people and animals on each page, reflecting the text in the foxes' search for the missing shoe. The bold, colourful pages will entice the reader to look more closely, following the fox as she searches under counters, along the rows of seats in the Opera House, through the shrubbery in the gardens.
Fran Knight

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