Friday, October 18, 2013

Picture Book Crush: Jane, the Fox & Me

Jane, the Fox & Me / written by Fanny Britt; illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault 

They say not to judge a book by it's cover, but there was just something about this one that warranted me picking it up. As soon as I flipped it open, my heart pounded: Isabelle Arsenault's illustrations are so thoughtful, sweet, and lively that they made my eyes pop open. 

And then, when I sat down to read the story, I discovered that, in marriage with the text they are even better. 

Without spoiling too much, the story is about a young girl, who you very quickly learn has had a recent falling out with some friends. She's sort of lost in her own world and seeks solace in stories. One of the stories she is obsessed with is Jane Austen.

I remember being a kid and feeling the sting of awkward social situations. . .friends who one day just–weren't. I have to imagine that lots of kids go through emotional stress and really struggle to figure out what will make them feel whole. Many of them choose to get lost in books. I remember that, in those moments, the story you're reading becomes your own just for a little while. 

That's why the moments when Hélène lets go of her internal stress voice are my favorite in this book. 

Hélène's mom stays up all night making her a dress...
(Insert Page Flip Here) ...and she's lost in it.

As an adult, I don't have that feeling as often as I used to. Time is short and all the worries of bills, work, maintaining relationships, remembering birthdays, etc. . . . they catch up with you. In this particular case, though, it's easy to get lost in Isabelle's artwork. Here are some close up shots of her scratchy textures and trees:

Full of life, confident. . . vibrant.

I won't describe who the fox is, because I believe he will be something different to everyone who reads this book. It's quite genius.

You'll find me carrying this book around under my arm for the next few weeks as I refuse to put it down. :)

I'd love to hear what your book crushes are, I know you've got one! Leave a comment below!



  1. Renee, I also love Isabelle Arsenault's illustrations. Have you seen Migrant?
    My current crush: Minette's Feast, illustrated by Amy Bates. Love the colors, the pencil line and the design of the spreads.

    1. Eee! Migrant is on my must buy list! I also just looked up Minette's Feast....that gingham watercolor pattern is to die for! Looks like a lovely book.

  2. I still can't put down Tallulah's Toe Shoes, although there is a new Tallulah book out this month. Alexandra Boiger's illustrations thrill me again and again.

    1. Omigawsh, those Tallulah books look so beautiful! Thanks for sharing! I too LOVE Alexandra Boiger's work. :)

  3. Love, love, love this book! I just brought it to our Illustrators Network meeting on favorite new discoveries, and I actually used the term "illustrator crush." Sadly, it looks like I was the first person to ever check it out of our library.

    1. Well luckily it's still fairly new, right? You won't be the last to check it out!