Scary Stories for Young Foxes

Christian McKay Heidicker

illustrations by Junyi Wu

Henry Holt and Company

August 2019

$26.99 AU

314p hb

ISBN: 978-1250181428

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Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker is a 2019 junior horror novel inspired by Bram Stoker, H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan poe. It follows fox kits Mia and Uly, who after being separated from their litters discover a world filled with danger and monsters at every turn. To find their way to a den, they will have to venture through a dark forest, escape a woman who peels foxes’ skins, and a ghost who hunts them through the snow.

The book is formatted into eight interconnecting stories, although it forms into a main conflict between Uly and his father, known as ‘Mr Scratch’, and the short interval stories are revealed to be Mia, years later, telling the fox kits about her adventure.

I think that this book is suitable for a middle-grade level of reading - around age 12, it’s a good introduction to the horror genre as it’s more creepy at times than scary - some of the worst parts are at times when for example, the foxes find a litter of newborn kits - and lose one in a snowstorm. The novel is quite easy to read, with very informal dialogue, but some of the vocabulary may be a bit difficult for younger readers. 

There are 16 beautiful black and white sketch illustrations in the book - all of them are relevant to the story and are very high quality. I really enjoyed the way it was formatted, as it was fun to work out how the seemingly very different stories ended up connecting to form an overall narrative. Overall a very good read!

Eleanor, age 14

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