Fox ISBN: 9780747560401
Published by Bloomsbury, 2002
Gerard has just moved to a big city from a country town in Ireland. A bit of a loner who doesn't make friends easily, he is soon in trouble at school, and his parents don't seem terribly interested. He is good at drawing, and when he sees a red-bearded man with a live fox wrapped round his neck, he is intrigued and goes home to draw the two of them. Soon he is visiting the man and his fox regularly in the place where they sit and beg, and a friendship of sorts begins to grow. When the man disappears from the streets, Gerard is worried, and he meets many other homeless people in his attempt to find the man and his pet. When he does (they live in an old van on the town dump), the friendship strengthens, and Gerard learns much about the man's previous life as a sailor. When he finds the man seriously ill one day, he gets his mum, and the man is taken to hospital where he dies. Gerard keeps the fox, and his friendship with the two of them has enriched his life to the extent that he is now doing much better in school, and his relationship with his parents is stronger. Written in an almost laconic style, the short chapters and black and white illustrations (Gerard's drawings) will provide a real picture of what it is like to be homeless. Bloomsbury will give a proportion of the proceeds from the sale of the book to the Simon Communities of Ireland.