Beautifully detailed and watercolor hued panels carry us through a day in the life of a fox in the Arctic wilds, in the second in a series of wordless graphic novels.
Three Activities for ages 6 and up, including English language learners, by Francisca Goldsmith
Activity One: Predator or Prey?
As the fox’s day unfolds, she meets many other animals. Sometimes she challenges them and sometimes they threaten her.
- White board or flipchart for making group lists
- Markers so that everyone can see what is written on the board during group discussion
- Individual sheets of paper for group members
- Pencils, pens, markers, or other writing and sketching tools
After everyone in the group has viewed every page in the order of the day’s events, introduce the terms “predator” and “prey” as they refer to animals’ relationships with other species in the wild.
Make two columns on the board, naming one “Predators” and the other “Prey.”
Ask members of the group to contribute the names of animals that fit each list. Allow the kids to raise the fact that some of the animals—including the fox—seem to fit into both lists.
After the list seems to be complete, ask everyone to write about or sketch an animal that was either one of the fox’s predators or whom she hunted as prey. Label the paragraph or the picture to indicate The Fox as Predator or The Fox as Prey.
Activity Two: Environmental Dangers and Safe Havens
Over the course of the day, the fox moves through and sees many different natural environments, some of which are dangerous to her and others which she can use for staying safe. Which is which?
- Tempera paint
- Paper for painting individual scenes
- Drop cloths, smocks, and other protection for the area and painters, as needed
After everyone has had the opportunity to see the various settings through which the fox moves during her day, generate a group list in a discussion. With each child’s suggestion, ask her or him to add whether that specific environment threatens the fox or helps keep her safe.
Using tempera paint, kids portray the environment in the fox’s day each of them found to be most thrilling or calming.
Display the paintings, when dry.
Older kids can investigate each setting’s natural details further online and share what they learned with the group. Access the National Geographic Ecosystems Education page for information.
Activity Three: Tell a Wordless Story
Just as the “Love” series tells full length stories without using any words, kids can show stories of their own without speaking or writing.
- Space for small groups to work away from each other
- Space for the groups to perform their stories in front of everyone else as the audience
After everyone is familiar with how this story shows without telling, ask kids to move into groups of two or three and develop a very short story about something that has already happened to one or all of them today.
Each group can plan how they will show that event in actions, with everyone in the group involved, and with no words being used.
Each group shares its story for a quiet audience. Can the audience understand what the event in the story was? Is it clear what occurred during the event being retold in actions?
A note about using this book and Activities One and Two with older children
After or during the activities as described above, older kids can move into considering the attributes of predator and prey, and environmental dangers and safe havens in their own worlds. Be prepared for this to emerge in the course of sharing their work as described above and allow kids to both share observations and make suggestions to each other about appropriate ways to be as clever as the fox in coping with conditions.