CHILDREN OF THE FOX, by Kevin Sands, Viking Books for Young Readers, Oct. 5, 2021, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
A ragtag group of kids join forces to pull off the heist of the century in Kevin Sands’ new middle-grade novel, Children of the Fox.
Lured by the promise of more money than they’ve ever dreamed of, five young criminals are hired to steal a heavily guarded treasure from the most powerful sorcerer in the city. There’s Callan the con artist, Meriel the expert at acrobatics (and knives!), Gareth the researcher, Lachlan who can obtain anything, and Foxtail, whose mysterious eyeless mask doesn’t hinder her ability to climb walls like a spider. Though their shadowy backgrounds mean that they’ve never trusted anyone but themselves, the five must learn to rely on each other in order to get the job done.
But as Callan has been warned most of his life, it’s best to stay away from magic. It can turn on you at any moment, and make you think you’re the one running the con game, when in reality you’re the one being fooled. Faced with these unsurmountable odds, can the friends pull off this legendary heist, or has their luck finally run out? —Synopsis provided by Viking Books for Young readers
Though Children of the Fox is about five kids, it unfolds from Callan’s point of view. Callan is just the sort of storyteller you want jumping into a new series. He’s clear, smart and has just the right amount of snark to grab your attention. But there’s more to him than his slightly irreverent attitude. As the book progresses, so does his complexity.
On the flip side, there are hints of something more with the other kids, but most of their stories stay hidden — fingers crossed more will be explored in later books. Still, they’re more than one note, and they provide variety and depth throughout.
There’s a lot going on with Children of the Fox, and it should appeal to readers who like more intricate stories. I recommend it for kids in third or fourth grade and up.
Children of the Fox is an exciting read from beginning to end. It’s fast-paced, full of magic and adventure, and it’s the first book in a planned series (Thieves of Shadow), so readers will have plenty to look forward to. Children of the Fox will be on my holiday gift list, and you should add it to yours now.