Just in after walking my Siberian husky and moving on to this review of Foxy’s Tale: The True Story of a Champion Alaskan Sled Dog by Ed White and Donna Freedman and illustrated by Charles Lindemuth. My husky and I didn’t walk as fast as Foxy runs in this true story of a dog and young girl who competed in junior one and two dog races. Told from Foxy’s point of view, elementary readers learn how this runt of the litter overcame size, injury, and other challenges to win the 1987 Junior World Championship Sled Dog Race in Alaska. After being hit by a car, Foxy’s future as a sled dog is uncertain. The vet predicts that Foxy may never walk, let alone run. However, Foxy and her family overcome this challenge, eventually training with Kelly, White’s daughter, to run one dog and then two dog races.
Written on a fourth grade reading level, Foxy’s Tale introduces some wonderful vocabulary: link, precious, depleted, formidable, blending, exhilaration, floundered, eligible, compartments, and more.
Unusual descriptions make pictures in students’ minds—“every jolt of the car made the hurt boil faster”, “water was coming from everyone’s eyes”, “the thick clouds that unfolded sheets of snow”—creating the opportunity to talk about creative ways to change ordinary descriptions.
Students also practice reading first person narration from an animal’s point of view, different from the usual third person point of view they read.
Common Core Standards for fourth grade which can be met using Foxy’s Tale include the Reading Standards for Literature 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 (RL.4.1-4 and 6 and 7), Reading Standards: Foundational Skills 3 and 4 for fourth grade (RF.4.3 and 4), and writing a sequel addresses Writing Standards skill 3 a, b, c, d, and e for fourth grade (W.4.3.a-e).
Foxy’s Tale teaches that size, or lack of it, doesn’t matter, and that adversity can be overcome.
A bonus to this 77 page book is that Ed White is available for Skype presentations and he offers opportunities for students to write their sequels to the book. Upon request, Ed will send a free copy of this book for your school’s library.
Photographs, video, and more information about Foxy are at www.foxystale.com.