Gon, The Little Fox
by Nankichi Niimi, illustrated by Genjirou Mita
Museyon, Inc., 2015
Originally published in Japan, 1969
A beloved story of Japan, Gon, The Little Fox, is a beautifully illustrated book with a definite Japanese touch.
One day the mischief-loving Gon steals a fish basket from Hyoju, a fisherman, and throws the fish back into the stream. He is spotted by Hyoju as he holds the squirming eel. Later Gon learns the eel was meant for Hyoju’s dying mother. Out of character, Gon feels remorse for his actions and thinks, “Now, Hyoju is all alone just like me.” To befriend the villager, he steals sardines from another and secretly leaves them for Hyoju. This leads to more trouble for Hyoju. Hyoju learns too late that it was Gon’s awkward attempt at friendship.
Unlike traditional American stories written with happy endings, this endearing tale is written with a bittersweet one. The tale provides parents an opportunity to discuss with their child issues of sadness and loss, among others. Likely better for the 6-8 year old reader.