The Fox and the Star

Coralie Bickford-Smith‘s first illustrated children’s book, The Fox and the Star, provides page upon page of gorgeous Bickford-Smith designs, and proves this woman can tell a good tale too.

If you’re not already familiar with Coralie, she designs beautiful book covers for a living. You may well already own a ‘Bickford-Smith’ original, as she is the talented designer behind the Penguin Classics range of books, which are truly covetable items with their eye catching covers.

What’s it all about?

The Fox and the Star is a poignant tale of a nervous little Fox, who is guided each night by Star. Star pops up bright as a button and illuminates the path for Fox so he can do fox-like things; chase rabbits, eat beetles, navigate the dense, dark wood. Then one day Star doesn’t appear and Fox has to find the courage to go on the hunt for his friend.

Is it worth reading?

As an enthusiastic and slightly mad aunt, I have read my fair share of children’s stories and I loved this tale for the fact that it wasn’t saccharine. It artfully deals with friendship, loss and fear, and while things aren’t resolved fully, it works out well enough in the end.

It is also beautifully written. There are no extraneous words, each one carefully chosen to create engaging rhythms and vivid imagery. My particular favourite being a moment of whimsy with Fox wanting: ‘Star to shine through the clouds so he could dance to the rain’s tapping beat.’

The book is also an aesthetic delight on multiple levels: the intricate dark navy and white cloth binding; the stiff paper which makes you turn the pages with a level of reverence; and then there are the illustrations which make you feel like you’re holding a work of art in your hands. Each page is so well thought out; the design, the colours, the way the text sits on the page and interacts with the images.

It is a beautifully executed book, exquisitely designed, thoughtfully written and one I won’t mind reading again and again.

 The fox and the star. By Coralie Bickford-Smith. Publisher: Particular Books. ISBN: 9781846148507

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