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Welcome to the Fox Blog!

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WHEN IS A TAIL...NOT A TAIL?

All will be revealed on Sunday at 2:00 when we celebrate Father Fox's 50th Birthday!

It's not too late to RSVP, or to request an invitation by emailing me or posting here.

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SEPTEMBER 19th...PARTY TIME!

Shh...!! Surprise Party!!

For several weeks now, relatives of Father Fox have been returning to New England from all over the country. Now they're brushing their tails, waxing their whiskers, patching their clothes, and generally sprucing up for the 50th birthday of their patriarch, the venerable FATHER FOX.

 
YOU are hereby invited to join the festivities!

Participants will

...meet the foxes one by one

...hear selected rhymes from Father Fox's Pennyrhymes read by the author and find out the inside story on how particular people inspired those rhymes.

...take part in a Q & A for which questions can be sent in ahead OR

typed into the Q & A box during the event.

...watch with bated breath as the Foxes pull names out of a hat & announce

Prize Winners in the Birthday Raffle.

 

After a short (5-min) break, interested audience members are invited to return to the screen to share their own Father Fox stories & recollections.

 
When: Sunday September 19th @ 2:00 PM Eastern

Where: Zoom

 
Registration is required: If you didn't already receive a Paperless Post invitation with RSVP option, send me your email address and you will receive one shortly.

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A Laugh For Today

TRAFFIC STOP!

A reader sent me this clipping shortly after Father Fox's Pennyrhymes was published. Somehow I've never been able to throw it out -- it makes me laugh every time I rediscover it!

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Country Bumpkin

Square From A Special Wedding Quilt

 

 

A reader sent me this photo of a quilt square made by a friend for a wedding quilt for one of her girls. How beautifully the creator of this piece has translated an illustration from Father Fox's Pennyrhymes into a sweet and very unique wedding gift! The rhyme goes like this:

 

Country Bumpkin

Pick a pumpkin

Put it in your cart:

For little Jenny

Half-a-penny

Valentine sweetheart.

 

I have no doubt the bride & groom were just as delighted as the two foxes you see here!

For those who haven't got a copy of the book handy for revisiting the illustration that inspired this beautiful stitchery, I'll post it later.

 

 

 

 

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The Fox Family: Another Artist's Version

Fox Family, by Megan Wysocki

In 2019 I received a lovely email from a longtime reader who told me that years before, as a graduate student at the University of Vermont, she had met Wendy during an author visit. 

 

"Right then, I fell in love with your books, especially Father Fox's Pennyrhymes.   I read it (and my signed Wendy's Mother Goose version) to my boys all through their childhoods.   It seems ironic, but I also framed four pages from the book and have hung them in my house since then.  And, I laminated a few pages and have had them as decorations in my classroom for many decades!  So, this year when I decided that I wanted to create some wool foxes, I KNOW that all of the sentimentality attached to my years of being such a fan, came through in every stitch.  I've attached a photo of my version of Father Fox's family for you."

 

Many thanks & much appreciation to Megan Wysocki, creator of the family shown above. She can be contacted via email: mwhomespun@comcast.net

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Foxy Trio

Father & Ma Fox Pose With One of The Little Ones in Another Artist's Rendering

One day in the fall of 1988, I received a phone call from Swietlan "Nick" Kraczyna, newly-appointed Artist-in-Residence at Dartmouth. He and his wife Amy Luckenbach – a master puppeteer and creator of marvelous puppets—had left their home in Florence for the year to live in Hanover while he taught a course in color etching. As long-time fans of Father Fox's Pennyrhymes, they had discovered that I lived in Hanover, looked up our phone number, and called me. This was to be the start of a deep and lasting friendship.

 

Long before we met, Amy had created her own version of the Fox family, remaining as faithful as possible to Wendy's illustrations, down to the last details-even searching out fabrics that matched those worn by the foxes in seen in the book. The next time they came to the States, she brought the fox family along and presented them to me.

 

If you have a copy of the Father Fox's Pennyrhymes, see if you can find the illustrations that inspired the garments these foxes are wearing! Which picture shows the sewing scissors sticking out of Ma Fox's pocket??

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Introducing Ma Fox

Under The Foxgloves

Father Fox & his beloved Ma Fox were spotted just now, sitting in a favorite spot to take a break from work in the garden. It's very hot out, but soon they will have picked enough arugula and other greens to go with their midday meal. After that I'm quite sure they will look for a nice shady place to cool off -- and maybe even take a brief snooze.

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Christmas 1971

On Christmas morning of 1971--the year Father Fox's Pennyrhymes was published--Wendy presented me with the handmade Father Fox doll shown in the previous post. She also made six more foxes, one for each of her siblings. Seen above is the tag that came with mine.

 

The original pants, made of worn denim, finally fell to threads & shreds, so a few years ago I made him the pair he's wearing now. The other clothing items--including the handstitched handkerchief peeking out of his pocket--were all sewn by Wendy. That Christmas he also sported a red long-john union suit layered under his shirt and pants--definitely required during our cold New England winters. He takes them off once the weather gets warmer.

 

Keep an eye out for the next blog post--he hopes to show off a special guest!

 

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Father Fox Turns Fifty!

Father Fox Turns Fifty!

 


Father Fox's Pennyrhymes was published in August of 1971, so this year the foxy fellow will celebrate his 50th birthday. He hasn't quite figured out how to do that yet, but I'm going to help him plan, and one thing is for sure: YOU are invited!

 
Over the years, I've gotten hundreds of letters, pictures, emails, and handmade objects from readers young and old—and for a while now I've been wanting to express to all of them—to all of you— my gratitude for such appreciation of my work. Celebrating this birthday together could be just the ticket!

 

Originally, I imagined an outdoor festival—with balloons, games, food, and prizes—to be held in the field below our house. However, the events of the past year have forced me to rethink this. I've concluded that with so much uncertainty in the air, it would be risky to count on an in-person gathering. Besides, doing something online would make it possible for readers across the country and over the ocean to take part.


Therefore, I'm planning a virtual event to take place later this year, with details to be announced as it takes shape. It will likely include a reading, the sharing of anecdotes, Q & A, music, and a presentation about my 50-year collaboration with illustrator-sister Wendy Watson. Check back here for further developments, and send me an email if you'd like updates on the event—please put "FF50" in the subject line of any such emails.

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