October 2018

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox

by Roald Dahl

Someone’s been stealing from the three meanest farmers around, and they know the identity of the thief—it’s Fantastic Mr. Fox! Working alone they could never catch him; but now fat Boggis, squat Bunce, and skinny Bean have joined forces, and they have Mr. Fox and his family surrounded. What they don’t know is that they’re not dealing with just any fox—Mr. Fox would rather die than surrender. Only the most fantastic plan can save him now.

A Note from the First Lady

Dear Read20 Book Club families,

Roald Dahl is a classic children’s author and one of his early books, Fantastic Mr. Fox, was written in 1970 but is still beloved today. It’s the story of a clever fox and his attempts to keep his family safe and well-fed, albeit in an unconventional manner. He uses his quick wit to outsmart the farmers he steals food from, but it causes a stir for the other animals burrowing underground.

Will Fantastic Mr. Fox remain fantastic after he creates trouble for his underground cronies? I have a sneaking suspicion that he might still have some tricks up his sleeve. You’ll have to follow along to find out! Join me this month curling up with a great book as the season brings cooler temperatures, a fall harvest and Halloween haunts.

Keep up the great reading!

Crissy Haslam

First Lady of Tennessee

Fun Family Activities

1. Alliteration and Characterization: Why do you think the author chose to call his main character ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’? What makes the fox so fantastic? What does that adjective tell us about the fox? Dahl chooses to use alliteration, or making a string of words start with the same consonant sound to make the name of his character catchy and easy to remember! Find examples from the book where the fox is particularly “fantastic”. What sound does your name start with? Can you use alliteration to help you choose an adjective to describe yourself to create your own character? (Silly Sam, Courageous Carrie, Adventurous Adam are all ideas to get you started!) Design a book cover for your alliterative name character! Draw what you think best represents the adjective you chose.

2. About the Author: Fantastic Mr. Fox was written by a popular author by the name of Roald Dahl. Mr. Dahl was a man of many talents, and throughout the years of his life had many different experiences that influenced his work. Before he became a children’s author and screenwriter, he was a spy, an ace fighter pilot, a chocolate historian and an inventor. Listen to the audio clips about how Mr. Dahl decides to write a story and his process for bringing that story to life. How did his early life and career impact his writing? How do you think he goes about creating characters? Why does Mr. Dahl think it is important for a writer to have “a lively imagination”?   

3. Vocabulary: Roald Dahl uses many descriptive adjectives and playful vocabulary to set the scene and describe to his readers what is happening in the story. How does using different words change the reader’s perception of the story?

lurk, enormous, delicate, dumplings, tattered, sly, murky, morsels, plucking

Find each of these words in the book and write them down on a sheet of paper. Define each word and try to use it in a new sentence! Search the book to find three more new-to-you words that you have never heard before. Find out what they mean, and tell an adult the words you’ve learned. Try to use your new words in different ways throughout the month.

4. Further Reading: Roald Dahl is one of the most revered and dearly loved children’s authors of our time. He has written many imaginative classics (many of which have been adapted into movies, plays and more) including The BFG, Matilda, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, and James and the Giant Peach and others, like The Enormous Crocodile, The Magic Finger, The Twits and My Uncle Oswald. Check out your local library to find any of Roald Dahl’s magical tales for your fall reading list.