Kate/ December 15, 2016/ news


This yearlong chronicle explores the physical attributes, habits, and habitat of the red fox.

While “her long, fluffy tail covers her body like a blanket,” Vixen, a red fox, is oblivious to the February snows. With her acute senses of smell and hearing, Vixen hunts in winter and forages plant foods the rest of the year. Because she prefers hunting at dawn and dusk, Vixen’s life remains secret. As spring approaches, Vixen and her mate “stay in touch,” marking their territory. After making a den in an abandoned burrow, Vixen gives birth to four kits, nurturing them for four weeks while her mate brings her food. After the kits emerge, they spend the summer learning to hunt and eventually depart to claim their own territories. Through the narrative about Vixen, Pringle thoughtfully explains how red foxes are canines, omnivores, and predators, including just enough specifics on hunting, mating, and parenting, with specialized vocabulary printed in italics in the narrative and defined in a glossary. Rendered in muted pastels and aqua crayons on sanded paper, the impressionistically fuzzy but otherwise realistic illustrations add depth, drama, and detail to the informative, entertaining text. Intimate scenes of Vixen alternate with panoramic vistas, capturing the essence of the red fox and her world. A “More About the Red Fox” section supplements the text.

Visually captivating introduction to the red fox’s secret life. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

About Kate

Kate Garchinsky illustrates and writes children’s books and educational media in her studio in the woodlands near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her debut picture book, The Secret Life of the Red Fox, written by acclaimed wildlife author, Laurence Pringle, received a starred review from School Library Journal. Kate Garchinsky received a grant from the Eckelberry Fellowship at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where she has been researching and illustrating extinction stories about North American birds such as the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet. Prior to creating children’s books, Kate designed lots of fun things like toys, birdbaths and trail maps. She lives with her husband Brian, Julia and Spencer the cats, and her one-eyed beagle, Maggie May. Kate recently signed on to illustrate two more “Secret Life” narrative non-fiction picture books with Boyds Mills Press—The Secret Life the Little Brown Bat (2018) and The Secret Life of the Skunk (2019). While drawing foxes and bats, Kate also began work on Belle’s Journey, a middle-grade non-fiction chapter book by ornithologist and osprey expert, Rob Bierregaard (Charlesbridge 2018). Get to know more about Kate Garchinsky at (aka