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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Hélène has been inexplicably ostracized by the girls who were once her friends. Her school life is full of whispers and lies — Hélène weighs 216; she smells like BO. Her loving mother is too tired to be any help. Fortunately, Hélène has one consolation, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Hélène identifies strongly with Jane’s tribulations, and when she is lost in the pages of this wonderful book, she is able to ignore her tormentors. But when Hélène is humiliated on a class trip in front of her entire grade, she needs more than a fictional character to allow her to see herself as a person deserving of laughter and friendship. Leaving the outcasts’ tent one night, Hélène encounters a fox, a beautiful creature with whom she shares a moment of connection. But when Suzanne Lipsky frightens the fox away, insisting that it must be rabid, Hélène’s despair becomes even more pronounced: now she believes that only a diseased and dangerous creature would ever voluntarily approach her. But then a ne…

Jane, the Fox, and Me

by Fanny Britt

Overall Book Review:

I have a weakness for beautiful illustrations. Sometimes I find myself looking at new children’s books, simply for the drawings. Or browsing the “art” section on Pinterest to find just one more pretty picture. My craving for wonderful illustrations was sated (briefly) while I read Jane, the Fox, and Me. A book that is hard to categorize. Is it a graphic novel? A picture book? This book isn’t just a story with a lot of pictures to go along with the words. Nope, this book has a message to convey. A very important one in this day and age, and one that is close to my heart:  self-acceptance.

Hélène is a young girl who has few friends outside of books. One of her best friends happens to be Jane Eyre, a character in the classic book by Charlotte Bronte. All of the girls at Hélène’s school seemed to be such bullies and so mean, but Jane Eyre, though she is centuries older than Hélène, has some sort of charm that she is able to conjure. When Hélène is reading Jane’s story, she doesn’t hear the mean words others whisper. She doesn’t feel alone. Though having a fictional character as a best friend might be viewed as one of the weirdest things a girl could do to try to fit in, somehow it works for Hélène. Jane is all she needs. Or so she thinks.

As the story goes on Hélène finds ways to relate to Jane, since she can’t seem to understand anyone else. Then she meets a character I never saw coming, and thinks she might have a potential friend. Though Hélène doesn’t seem to have much going for her, I found myself cheering her on with every turn of the page. This is a wonderful book that could be a god way to bring up bullying, self-image, and similar subjects with a grade-school student. Sometimes it’s hard to understand how much impact words and actions have. Jane, the Fox, and Me is a book that puts this lesson into words and pictures marvelously.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  A character sets a house on fire; a character is described to be “maimed”; a character is mentioned to die.

Sex/Nudity:  Adults depicted kissing in one picture.

Mature Subject Matter:

Bullying, self-image.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A woman is mentioned to have given up smoking.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.