The Fox on the Swing

The Fox on the Swing written by Evelina Daciūtė and illustrated by Aušra Kiudulaitė is translated into English from Lithuanian. It is quirky, odd, unexpected, and delightful.


This book is charming and unique. The text is chatty and clever. The fonts change and morph into the illustrations creating a seamless and interesting blend between word and picture. There is a LOT going on here: in the copy, the humorous and detailed illustrations, and in the meaning of the story. It is a story about finding happiness, dealing with loss, moving and change. That’s a lot to fit into a picture book and perhaps why it’s a bit long. But I think it’s perfect for older readers to stretch their vocabulary and appreciate the metaphors. It would be a wonderfully fun read aloud to younger children who would love finding all the details and jokes in the illustrations.

Paul is a boy who lives in a very tall tree with his mother who makes orange pots, and his father, who flies the pots in his orange helicopter to the city to sell. They are happy.

Everyday Paul goes to the bakery to buy rolls. One day he notices a fox swinging on a swing. Paul and the fox eventually become good friends. The fox is full of witty sayings from her wise ancestors (these are both profound and funny). When Paul tells the fox that he is moving and doesn’t want to go, the fox replies,

“My Father, who was a very wise fox always said that it takes time to know when something is good,” the fox said to Paul.

“Imagine a cake with cream inside. You might not bite into the cream right away. But only get to it after a few bites. If you keep eating, the cake will taste better and better.”

And so Paul moves away to a taller tree with a bigger helicopter. He isn’t happy and questions why his family had to change things when they were “happy enough.”

Eventually, Paul goes down a literal ‘new path’ on his way home from the new, even bigger bakery, and discovers his dear friend fox swinging on a swing in Paul’s new neighborhood.

Because as the fox told Paul earlier,

“When I need to be somewhere else, that’s where I’ll go.”

Happiness is most often orange things… especially a fox!

Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Jennifer is the illustrator of several acclaimed picture books. Most recently is Gondra's Treasure, written by Newbery award winner Linda Sue Park. Another recent release is Sometimes You Fly, by Newbery medalist, Katherine Applegate. Jennifer is the author illustrator of Blue Ethel and has illustrated Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park, The Inventor's Secret, What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, by Suzanne Slade, Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons, by Alice B. McGinty, and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz.

34 Comments:

  1. This sounds like a book I’d enjoy! Thanks for featuring it, Jennifer!

  2. This looks like such a unique and profound picture book. I look forward to reading it.

  3. OMG such fun — and such wisdom presented in such an accessible way. Thank you for sharing this book!

  4. I love books like this! Thanks Jennifer for sharing it here.

  5. I love seeing an example of something that takes a risk in stretching the picture book “rules” a bit. This looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Jennifer, I agree that this book does that. I wonder how much of that is that it is written and illustrated by a Lithuanian author and illustrator? It feels fresh and different. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

  6. I’m hooked on the illustrations and the message is told in such a unique way–love t!

  7. I love this fox!! Looking forward to reading it, Jennifer!

    • Hi Maria, I found the fox’s dialogue so fun and wonderful. She has a tiny bit of snarkiness to her and the way she imparts her words of wisdom is so profound and unexpected. I adore that bit about the cake with cream inside. What a brilliant job of making a big concept very relatable to child. Thank you!

  8. Wouldn’t it be fun to compare this one with Muth’s ZEN SHORTS?
    Love the cover!

  9. Oh, clever! Looks adorable! And filled with lots of fun things to learn and discover.

  10. I’m intrigued – love the story and illustrations! It appears to be packed with wisdom too! Looking forward to reading it.

  11. Wow! I love books that make kids think. What fun it would be to read this aloud and have a discussion with students.

  12. Jennifer, thank you very much for your wonderful review. Greetings from Lithuania 🙂

  13. Aušra, I absolutely love your book— Congratulations! Your illustrations are inspiring, stunning, and captivating. I will be watching for your next book!

  14. Thank you, dear Jennifer, for your review! It was so nice to read it 🙂

  15. I look forward to this one.

  16. Dear Jennifer, thank you for you lovely words about our book!

  17. This looks wonderful! I love the gorgeous colors. I’m happy to see it’s at my library–can’t wait to check it out. Thanks for sharing, Jennifer, and congrats to Evelina and Aušra!

  18. Thank you for showcasing this lovely book. I esp. love a wise and witty fox!

  19. This is intriguing. Thanks!

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