The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night
This Caldecott Honor book from beloved illustrator Peter Spier is a spirited take on a classic American folk song.
"[Spier's] finely detailed, action-packed New England autumn vistas are almost startlingly beautiful."—The New York Times
Over fifty years after he won a Caldecott Honor for The Fox Went Out on a…
Why read it?
2 authors picked The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
In 1961, American illustrator Peter Spier won a Caldecott Honor for his version of this ancient song, and in 2014 he revisited his book, turning the black and white illustrations into glorious colour. As a scholar of ballads, I’m thrilled by their persistent popularity. The first evidence of “The Fox” is in a manuscript in the British Library from the second half of the fifteenth century, with its chorus—“Pax vobis, quoth the fox, for I am going to the town.” It’s clearly the same song, just missing the ‘o’ after town. What’s the attraction? Besides Spier’s shimmering double spreads…
This old classic still holds its charm. Sing along all the way and enjoy the autumn farmland illustrations as a fox runs through a tobacco barn and across the moonlit countryside bringing the farmer’s grey goose back to his young ones for dinner. Spoiler alert, they do pick the bones clean.
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