Hector Fox and the Giant Quest

Hector Fox and the Giant Quest

I have been teaching preschool for thirty-five years.  I’m the guru of picture books at school.  Frankly I’m picky, and I know a good book when I read one.  Hector Fox and the Giant Quest by Astrid Sheckels is outstanding, so good that I purchased it for myself in 2016.  Here is what sets this book above the rest:

Illustrations
The illustrations are simply stunning and rich in detail.  Every page draws the reader into the story.  Astrid’s rendition of each animal, the forest, and Hector’s house is remarkable.

Animals
The animals in the story are familiar and also unfamiliar, giving children the comfort of what they know, and curiosity to learn something new.  How many children know of a marten?  None in my classroom.  Instead of making the animals all one size, Astrid purposely gives them correct proportions – and it works!

Vocabulary
E.B. White said to never write down to children.  The book uses “big words”, such as quest, marsh, merry band, wary, hearty, and more.  When I begin to read the book, first reading the title, I talk about the word quest, and ask the children what it means.  Then we look at the cover and talk about a quest in the woods, and what that might be.  It takes me ten minutes, and the children are eager and curious before I have read the first page.

Storyline
The story flows.  It is exciting!  Children are drawn to adventure, and they always like animal stories.  Fairy tales have withstood the test of time for those exact reasons.  This book does the same thing and has all the makings of a fairy tale – I think not a coincidence that the book is centered on Hector’s book of fairy tales.  The elements of friendship, family, bravery, and working together are pieces that are important, and also what children want to hear.

Bottom line – Children love the book!  That’s the true test.

I for one am very eagerly looking forward to the next Hector Fox adventure.  I rarely purchase a book for myself, and I’ll purchase a new Hector Fox book in a heartbeat.  Really.

Jennie

About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Book Review, books, children's books, Early Education, Imagination, picture books, reading, young children and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Hector Fox and the Giant Quest

  1. Dan Antion says:

    I thin it’s great that you focus on what the children enjoy.

  2. Ritu says:

    Sounds like an amazing book 😊

  3. beetleypete says:

    Just from your photo, it’s apparent that the illustrations are first-rate. That appeals to me a lot, so this will be going on my grandson’s list. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  4. beetleypete says:

    It shows as ‘currently unavailable’ on Amazon UK. I will have to shop around. 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      What a shame, as it is available on Amazon here. I wonder what the difference is between countries. I do hope you can find the book. Best to you, Pete.

  5. I like the way you laid out this review, Jennie. And I love the picture of you and the fox puppet. 🙂 Mega hugs. 🦊 🦊

  6. That fox puppet will add the crowning touch so the kids will never forget this book.

  7. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, this sounds like a wonderful book!

  8. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    Jennie Fitzkee has been teaching children to read for over 30 years and is very picky about the books that she shares with them.. so when she recommends a book… such as Hector Fox and the Giant Quest.. you know your child will be in safe hands…

  9. Lovely book! The illustrations remind me a bit of Jan Brett, whose books I always enjoyed sharing with my students.

  10. I have not heard of this book before, Jennie. Thank you for the recommendation; it sounds terrific.

  11. Wonderful post and review! Sharing…

  12. I am glad to read this too. I think children do need to have a challenge, and the key is to explain and discuss each new word or concept with them in a way that is fun and teaches them something they will remember.

    I substituted for a preschool teacher one day and she was teaching the children the alphabet, using words. When I saw one word, “glider,” my wonder if the children knew what that meant grew and so after she had gone from the class for her meetings, I asked them all what it meant. None of them knew what it meant, so when they went outside for recess, the aides took them and I stayed inside and prepared some construction paper to make gliders out of. When they all came back in, I gave each teacher a glider kit and showed them how to help the children make the gliders. They joyfully make their gliders, for they sensed a toy and an adventure. And then I had them each with help, write the word glider and their names on them, and then they decorated them. After that, five at a time, we had glider challenges, where each child got up and flew their glider to see who could make it do the furthest. And the winner in each group got to fly theirs until there was a winner for the whole class, and then I gave them all lollipops and told them all what a good job they had. I don’t think next time anyone asks them what a glider is, there will be anyone in that class who does not know.

    And most ABC books have words that are way above the children they are made for, so there is plenty of opportunity to provide plenty of challenges for them. This is a very good story, and makes me want to find the book at the library too. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    • Jennie says:

      Hooray, Anne! Gliders = emergent curriculum at its best. Seize the moment. I’m glad you liked the book, as a good book gives so many opportunities for teaching.

  13. Karen Dunham says:

    Jennie
    I looked on Amazon for this book and it was $75 and up from different sellers. I’d like to buy it for the library. It looks great!

    • Jennie says:

      Hi Karen! I checked with the author last week and she confirmed that is true. Apparently, the new publisher (with more Hector Fox books to come) hasn’t released the book yet under their name. BUT I can contact her and do my best to get one for the library. I’ll let you know. Happy New Year!

  14. Norah says:

    I wasn’t aware of this one, Jennie. You praise it highly. I’ll have to see if it’s in my local library. Thank you for your review.

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