Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is a wonderful, fast read for any and all ages, about feeling left out, fitting in, and finding shelter where you can.
Helene is a young girl, outcast from the girls who were once her friends. Though I'd have liked to know why, that is left a mystery. However, they now call her fat, and she has begun to believe it. The book is sweet but also sad, funny, and hopeful. At one point, her mother takes her to try on swimsuits, which are too small, leading Helene to picture herself as a sausage. Who hasn't looked in a mirror and felt that way? The sad thing was that she is only a kid.
Helene takes refuge in Jane Eyre (who, she points out, would never be a sausage, even though she is poor and plain). One of the most clever aspects of the book was the masterful use of color. Helene's life is black and white, but as soon as she opens Jane Eyre, the pages are colored. When she closes the book, she's back to her own uncolored life...
Until one day while on a camping trip, she sees a fox. The fox is in color. It's such a striking contrast to the previous illustrations that you know it's important. She says, If a human looked at me with those eyes, my soul would be his.
And then a human does. She makes a friend. A few leaves are colored on the next page. She finishes Jane Eyre. It has a happy ending. She's going to lend it to her friend. The last pages of Helene's story are in color.
I can't express how special this graphic novel is. Please read it. It only took me 20 minutes and it is worth many more.
Recommended for everyone, but esp. reluctant reader girls, those who are lonely, outcast, bullied, or overweight.
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