Maybe it had something to do with the Jane Eyre reference or maybe it was the rave review from the rep that had stuck in my mind, but when I saw this book displayed on our shelves, I knew I just had to read it.
Helené is a recently rejected girl at school. Once popular with friends, she suddenly finds herself on the outer. She is taunted, teased and bullied.
Her loneliness, confusion & sadness are beautifully depicted in the grey wash illustrations by Arsenault. This is a graphic novel that is still also a picture book at heart.
All of a sudden we turn the page to find a little bit of Jane Eyre’s story as seen through Helené’s eyes.
The illustrations change – we see colour, lovely old-fashioned fonts & we also see hope.
Helené sees Jane as a kindred spirit – a connection is made through the pages of the book. Through Jane, Helené feels understood. Jane’s story not only gives Helené respite, but hope.
During a ghastly school camping excursion, Helené spies a fox in the woods.
She reaches out & makes a connection with the fox.
This encourages her to make a connection with one of the other girls, Géraldine, also on the outer with the popular group.
There is nothing particularly new or earth-shattering about this classic tale of bullying & loneliness.
But Jane, The Fox and Me is told so tenderly that I defy anyone to resist its charms.
I certainly couldn’t!
Fanny Britt is from Quebec.
The book was translated into English by Christine Morelli & Susan Ouriou.
This book has mature themes but would be suitable for good 10+ readers as well as high school students.