[Reviewed from Copy Courtesy of NubeOcho]
Bogo the Fox Who Wanted Everything by Susanna Isern and Sonja Wimmer is a whimsical, inspiring, and completely endearing picture book that is loaded with vital life lessons. It is a Junior Library Guild Selection, and it is easy to see why.
When you read this book it feels like there is a fairy godmother standing by you casting magic everywhere – the illustrations have an electric and spellbinding energy to them. It is almost like a dare to be near this book and not pick it up. The story and underlying message artfully shows us how even though we can’t be everything, we are still uniquely valuable and capable of great things. Picture books, when done well, have an incredible power to them – and this one wields it fully.
Bogo the Fox Who Wanted Everything is about a very curious fox who lives in a tree.
He’s very observant and notices that so many animals around him are incredible. But because he only sees others’ strengths and advantages when he compares himself to them, he ends up feeling inferior and insignificant. Admirably, he doesn’t sit around feeling sorry for himself and he never complains. He simply decides that he’s going to start inventing amazing things so that he can have and be everything he wants.
Despite help on his projects and assurances from his friends, he fails, fails, fails, and then fails some more.
He tries to invent wings so he can fly, night glasses to see like an owl, jumping stilts to leap as high as a frog, a shell for protection like a turtle’s, a snout like an anteater’s, and a tube to breath like a fish. Each time after he fails, there’s the important but frustrating reminder that, “You can’t have everything!”
Bogo finally succumbs, gets discouraged, and becomes depressed. He decides that he’s just not special and never will be. He stops inventing completely. His friends become worried about him and miss his, “weird ideas.”
But then danger arrives in the forest. Bogo, because of some of his innate characteristics, saves the day and protect his friends from harm. He is the right fox, in the right place, and the right time. Everyone cheers for him. Bogo makes peace with himself, and decides to happily keeps on inventing, because it is what he truly loves doing. The book ends with, “Oh Bogo! Never change! We love your crazy ideas!”
Bogo the Fox Who Wanted Everything, in addition to being an encouraging and entertaining story that readers young and old will instantly connect with, effortlessly sparks fantastic discussions. My children are enamored with all of Bogo’s inventions and have so many questions about why they fail. They make their own suggestions and posit their theories as to what could work. They are constantly trying to decipher what is plausible and what isn’t. And they gleefully cheer Bogo on each time he begins inventing anew.
As an adult, it feels impossible to read this book without wanting to talk with my children about the repeating phrase,”Whoever heard of a fox that can…” and why these characters say this to Bogo. What do they mean by it? And just because they haven’t heard of something before, does that mean they should give up or dismiss him? It is a fantastic discussion every time.
Bogo the Fox Who Wanted Everything also compels me to talk with my sons about the balance between accepting and working to improve ourselves. What does that mean? What does it look like when we strike that balance? We have such great conversations when we read this book. It is inspiring and exciting.
Bogo the Fox Who Wanted Everything is a visual wonder and delightful read that encourages acceptance of yourself. It skillfully addresses and dissuades our natural desire to feel inferior. It also elegantly emphasizes that despite failures and setbacks, you are still valuable to your friends and family. And finally, it skillfully does the important work of urging each one of us to accept ourselves and bravely pursue what we love.
Available in Spanish as Bogo Quierelotodo.
Recommended Ages 4 to 8. NubeOcho. October 2016. 40 pages. ISBN: 978-8494444661. Fiction.
Where to Get it:
- [Affiliate Links]: Amazon.com (English) or Amazon.com (Spanish)
- [My Favorite Bookstore]: Addendum Books
- [Library]: Worldcat.org
Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the publisher. No other compensation was received. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit. It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”