4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Fin and Fang are twin fox brothers who couldn’t be more different. Fin is a morning fox, while Fang is definitely not. Fang is bold and adventurous; Fin is more cautious. But despite being opposites, these twins are very close. When they get together, one thing is for sure: they always manage to get into some mischief.
The author, Kat Morris, is a former special education teacher. As she states in her Author’s Note, she always had difficulty teaching her students homophones, which are words that sound the same but are spelled differently and mean different things. In an effort to help children master homophones, she plans to create a series revolving around Fin and Fang. The Tails/Tales of Fin and Fang: Bare/Bear Trouble appears to be the first book. Focusing on the difference between bear and bare, this book follows Fin and Fang as they set out to play one of their famous pranks on their friend Bear.
This children’s book has a lot going for it. Fin and Fang are characters that are easy to like, and despite their penchant for getting into mischief, they have good hearts. The author incorporates a lot of humor into the story. Young readers will be giggling at the brothers’ mishaps and the references to their “Foxbook page” and “Pineapple phone.”
The book features full-page pictures that are beautifully drawn and colored. I really like that the drawings clearly show the characters’ emotions throughout the story. As our world becomes more and more digitalized, it’s important to squeeze in opportunities for social-emotional learning anywhere you can. Learning to identify others’ emotions is a key step toward developing empathy.
I appreciate the educational aspect of this book. The words bear and bare appear in context throughout the book, but if I could change one thing, it would be that the words would take a more central place in the story. If the characters had confused the words and learned the difference themselves, it might help hammer the point home to readers. In addition to the focus on the homophones, the author includes a glossary of advanced vocabulary words used in the story.
I also think the messaging of the book is positive. As their ill-conceived prank is underway, Fin and Fang realize that perhaps having fun at their friend’s expense isn’t the best idea. They discover the forest holds real dangers, and the animals should be helping each other and keeping each other safe. I love that this message is clearly articulated in a way that children will understand.
I did find two minor errors that need to be corrected, but overall the book appears professionally edited. Because of the great story and the educational value, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is best geared toward late elementary schoolers who have mastered basic reading skills and are ready to expand their vocabulary. The themes addressed in this book are relevant to this age group as well.
The Tails/Tales of Fin and Fang
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon