The book is set in Glensinna, a place inhabited by red foxes only. They have all heard about the legend of Sionnach the Great White fox which is said to have looked after the land in times of great danger and lived in the Valley of Gleann an tSionnaigh (the valley of the white fox) which is now known as Glensinna. No one has ever seen the white fox and his history has turned into legend.
But one day a fox named Vickey goes out hunting for food and two men start shooting at her. Then while she is trying to get away she spots a white fox. When she escapes from the men and returns home she tells her mate Black Tip about what she saw. Then when Black Tip goes outside the quarry he sees three foxes, a white fox, a blue fox, and a silver fox with a black face and legs.
When they first met they didn’t say a word but he invites them back to his den and asks Old Sage Brush what they should do. Old Sage Brush was an old fox who was blind but he was very wise. Finally the white fox speaks and tells them that the three foxes lived in the ‘world of man’ that was surrounded by white mink and where man seems to be their friend.
They tell them that they were born and bred in the world of man and were placed in separate cages in a shed. They told them that they were held captive in a fur farm because of their different coloured fur, however they escaped.
Vickey gave them the names Snowflake, Bluebell and Nightshade. With their history with man, the foxes felt they brought great danger to Glensinna so Vickey and a group of old friends decided to help them reach the hills of long low cloud for their safety,
The book’s journey takes them through dangerous and adventurous paths such as trappers, hunters and white minks. They must learn how to survive in the wild and survive their new interactions with man.
My Thoughts on the Characters
Vickey is a vixen and the main character in the story. She is kind and always wants to help. Black Tip is Vicky’s partner and they have a family together. He gets his name from his black tip on his tail. Black Tip is a fighter, strong and brave.
The three foxes from the fur farm are Snowflake, Bluebell and Nightshade. Vickey gives them their names by the colour of their fur. Snowflake is white, Bluebell is blue and Nightshade black and silver. Snowflake is the first of the three that Vickey meets, she later mates with Fang another character in the book.
Hopalong is a fox with 3 legs, another injury caused by ‘man’s traps’. The trapper was later seen wearing his paw around his neck but Hopalong jumped onto him and bravely reclaimed his paw. Hopalong is the bravest and he is always looking out for his mate She-la.
Fang is a male fox who lives in Beachpaw a nearby valley. He also liked Vickey and fought with Blacktip in an earlier book for her. Black tip won her heart. In this novel Fang mates with Snowflake after saving her from the trappers and leaves with her to go their own path.
My favourite character is Old Sage Brush, despite being the eldest and blind from an injury caused by man he is very strong and wise. He uses his other senses and his knowledge to help himself and others. Old Sage Brush is a leader and teaches the three coloured foxes how to live and survive in the wild.
My Thoughts on the Book
The book was very interesting and had many surprises, plot twists and new friendships developed on the journey to the hills of the long low cloud. The journey also develops the reader’s knowledge on wildlife.
My favourite part of the book was when Hopalong bravely reclaims his paw from the trapper who had taken it from him. Hopalong was headstrong and brave and not limited by the fact that he had only 3 legs.
I would recommend this book to children who like nature and wildlife stories. I feel it is suited to age 9 and over as there is some difficult reading and some issues such as captivity of animals and trapping which would be more understandable for older readers. I’m sure it is a great addition to the Run with the Wild series, it is my first to read but I will definitely now read the others. I would definitely score it 9 out of 10 stars.
I also think Bex Atkinson did a great job on the front cover illustration. It is very colourful and the browns and reds, country wildlife colours added to the character of the book.
The author Tom McCaughren in this book excellently depicts the lives and journeys of wildlife creatures and shows that they can survive no matter what their colour.
By Dean (12), 6th Class, Leckaun NS, Co. Leitrim
The story is set in Glensinna and all the foxes there are red. All the foxes there grew up hearing the legend of Sionnach, the great white fox, though no one has ever seen him.
Until one day a red Vixen called Vickey sees a white fox while she is hunting near a man’s house. She then goes back to her den and tells her mate Black Tip about the white fox and also tells her friends Old Sage Brush, Hop Along and She-la who also meets the white fox and her friends which are a blue fox and a black and silver fox. They tell the Glensinna foxes that they were captured and held captive in a fur farm. They have no names so Vickey and Old Sage Brush give them names. They name the white one Snowflake, the blue one Bluebell and the Back and silver one Nightshade.
They then go to Beech Paw to tell other foxes about the fur farm foxes and maybe they might find someone who knows what to do with them. While they are in Beech Paw they meet an old friend of the Glensinna foxes, Fang who was once in love with Vickey and fought with Black Tip over Vickey but Black Tip won. Old Sage Brush then decides that they should go somewhere far to escape the trapper that held the foxes captive on the fur farm and who also set the trap that Hop Along caught his leg in and lost his leg.
Old Sage Brush decides they should go to the hills of the long low cloud. So Vickey, Black Tip, Old Sage Brush, She-la, Hop along, the fur farm foxes and Fang start their journey to the Hills of the Long Low Cloud. During their journey they pass through the field of thistles, the forest of fear and much more. They also meet old friends along the way. In the end Bluebell, Snowflake and Nightshade find a mate.
As you finish the book you will be wondering is there such place as the Hills of the Long Low Cloud.
My Thoughts on the Book
I enjoyed this book quite a lot, it is very interesting and detailed very well. I also think the illustrations are very good. My favourite illustration is the front cover. The book is written as how a fox would see the world. If you read the book you will notice that instead of saying humans, everything about our world is man’s house and man’s world. This book is the eighth in the fox series. I have never read any of the others but maybe one day I might. The other books are called Run with the wind, Run to Earth, Run Swift, Run Free, Run to the Ark, Run to the Wild Wood, Run for Cover and finally Run for the Hills. I think Tom McCaughren is a very talented writer. He must be very interested in wildlife to write eight books on foxes. I recommend this book to nine year olds plus and people who have an interest in wildlife. It took me two weeks to read this book but I read over four weeks because I had to share it with my brother who also is doing a review on this book. I rate this ten out of ten.
My Thoughts on the Characters
I like all the characters because they all have their own personality. Vickey is fearless and is up for any challenge. Black Tip is tough and is also Old Sage Brush’s eyes because he is blind. Old Sage Brush is very wise but a bit crazy – no one ever knows what he is talking about but there is sense to all his madness. Hop Along is shy but brave – he is not afraid to protect his friends and his mate She-la. She-la is not mentioned a lot in the story but always takes care of Hop Along. Fang is hard core but is sweet and loving when you get behind all that toughness. Snowflake is ready to see the rest of the world that she has not seen. Bluebell is imaginative and is also my favourite character in the book. Nightshade is different, other larger animals seem to be afraid of her.
“It does not matter if the paws are black or white, so long
As they can catch a mouse.”
Old Sage Brush
By Elle (10), 5th Class, Leckaun NS, Co. Leitrim