• Picture Book Snob

The circle of life in all its glory

Fox by Isabel Thomas and Daniel Egnéus

Fox is a book with a one-word title which can also be summarised in one word: "stunning." Prepare to be moved by the images as well as the story itself. This follows a family of foxes for a year and gently explains the circle of life and death in nature.


Although informative, it is also incredibly poignant, with breath-taking illustrations. I never thought decomposition could be so attractive! Possessing a quiet but powerful beauty, this is a brilliant celebration of the natural world.

There is a human family at the beginning that reappears at the end, and we can see how much the children have grown. At the back of the book, there is a more detailed account of the "building blocks" of life and how death is integral to our existence.


Fox combines story and science to discuss death with children in a practical, thought-provoking and tender way. This book helps take the fear and darkness out of something that is an inevitable part of life. It doesn't condescend to children or gloss over grittier facts, and manages to make a challenging subject both compelling and aesthetically pleasing.

The author and illustrator have an earlier title called Moth: An Evolution Story which was awarded the 2020 AAAS Subaru Prize for excellence in science books. This looks fabulous too and is on my wishlist for the new year.


There is no review that can do Fox justice, it needs to be seen, and admired, in real life. This is an absolutely extraordinary book. The illustrations are exquisite and the text reads like a poem. It would make an excellent classroom resource as well as a wonderful gift that would be cherished by anyone who received it.

About the author:

Isabel Thomas studied Human Sciences at the University of Oxford. She is a science writer and children's author who has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize, the ASE Science Book of the Year, and the Blue Peter Book Awards. Isabel also writes for children's science magazine Whizz Pop Bang, and for science outreach projects. She is a primary school governor and STEM Ambassador.


About the illustrator:

Daniel Egnéus is a prolific artist, who has collaborated with many writers including Neil Gaiman on his American Gods quartet and won several awards for his work in the advertising industry. The Thing, written by Simon Puttock and illustrated by Daniel, was selected by The Guardian newspaper as one of the 50 best illustrated books of 2016.


Title: Fox

Author: Isabel Thomas

Illustrator: Daniel Egnéus

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: 1st October 2020

ISBN: 9781526600776