The Fox and the Ghost King
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Football, a family of foxes and a ghost king are key ingredients to this cleverly plotted adventure story, told from the point of view of a young fox cub. He is the oldest, peskiest and friskiest cub in a family that is football mad. Ardent Leicester City fans, he and his Dad often sneak into Leicester City’s grounds to watch their team play. There is even a rumour that their presence brings the players good luck. But tonight, the magic has vanished – and their team is beaten by Chelsea. As they dejectedly wind their way home across an empty car park, father and son hear an unfamiliar noise - a ghostly voice from deep below the ground. It pleads with them, then begs a favour, for which, in return, it promises a reward beyond their imagining.
The author has an extraordinary knack for weaving snippets of news items into a story pitched at young readers. Here, Leicester City’s remarkable championship win against formidable odds in 2015-16 and the discovery of Richard III’s bones are woven into a fresh and imaginative tale filled with talking-beast protagonists – the Foxes also being the familiar name of Leicester City Football Club. The various threads are held in place by the author’s easy storytelling style. An entertaining read, the story inspires young readers to think for themselves and to discover more by suggesting that the king was not as villainous as history and Shakespeare’s play make him out to be. Michael Foreman’s elegant, softly drawn pictures establishing setting and mood are the perfect complement.