Zeb Soanes, illus. James Mayhew
Age 5-7 years
Gaspard the Fox lives in a city near a canal. He spends his evenings searching for food, wary of humans apart from the odd one or two who seem friendly. One evening Gaspard makes two new animal friends – a cat called Peter who is very particular about his name and a dog called Finty who sneaks out of his kennel at nighttime for adventures. After accidentally getting covered in ash Gaspard finds he has a much better time camouflaged and resembling a dog than being all too conspicuous as a fox.
This is a warm story perfectly matched with the beautiful illustrations which evoke the street and canal scenes brilliantly.
The back of the book contains information about foxes.
Watch a trailer here
Share the story
Before starting to read the story, look at the cover image together and talk about where this story takes place and what might happen to the fox.
Read the story aloud to your child pausing to talk about what is happening in the story or pictures or any unfamiliar words.
As your child becomes familiar with the story they may like to join in as you read for example with the sound effects and some of the conversations.
Talk about the story
Talk about your favourite animal character in the story –Gaspard, Peter or Finty?
Share your favourite scenes find them in the book and talk about what you like about them
Talk about unfamiliar words, for example: unique, vixen, towpath
Things to make and do
Make a fox mask
Use images from the book or the template here to make a fox mask. Your child could decorate their mask with paint or coloured felt pens. They could try moving like a fox, slinking along quietly without making a noise.
Make a story box
Make a story box with a scene from the story from a small a cardboard box eg a shoe box. See here for an example. Decorate the base, back and sides of the box with pictures of the scene you choose eg of the canal scene, street or park scene. Use small animal figures for the characters if you have them or improvise with modelling material. Place the figures inside your setting and they can have imaginary conversations about the story.
Make a fox information book
Use the information at the back of the book and the links below to find out more about foxes. Help your child decide what they want to find out. Your child could write some of the facts they have found in a fox information book, or you could scribe for them if they are not independent writers. A simple animal shape folded book with fox ears would be a fun way to record your facts.
Be an animal tracker
The book endpapers include Fox footprints. Take a walk in the park or local woods after a rainy day and see if you can find any animal or bird footprints in muddy areas. Look in information books and the internet at different shaped footprints, can you recognise any?
If you have an outside area, make your own animal tracker, leave it out overnight and check in the morning. A tray with dry soil and sand in will do. See Animal Tracks | Animal Footprint Identification – The RSPB
Find more things to make and do on the Gaspard the Fox website Gaspard the Fox — DEN
Find out more
Visit the Gaspard the Fox website to find more about Gaspard the Fox, for more activities and information about foxes
Read more stories about Gaspard the Fox by Zeb Soanes and James Mayhew
Gaspard Best in Show
Gaspard’s Foxtrot (Publishing March 2021)
Find out more about foxes
Read the information about foxes at the back of the book.
Find out more about foxes here:
Find out about other wildlife which lives in our cities Urban Habitats: Towns and Cities | Learn About Nature – The RSPB