The story begins by introducing three horribly gluttonous farmers who are being robbed of their livestock by a clever fox trying to provide for his family. The farmers, Boggis, Bunce, and Bean, decide they must come up with plan to catch the fox. They stake out the fox’s hole, but only manage to shoot off Mr. Fox's tail. Unwilling to give up easily, they plan to dig the foxes out. In desperation, Mr. Fox and his family begin their own excavations, attempting to out-dig the farmers. Things begin to look bleak when the farmers fetch their caterpillar tractors, but they still can’t catch the foxes.
The fanatical pursuit continues as the three farmers vow that they will not give up until they have the fox strung up. They decide they will starve him out and immediately set up camp by the hole and call for all the farm workers to surround the hill. The plan is working – the foxes are getting weaker and hungrier by the minute. Right when it looks like they might give up, Mr. Fox comes up with a fantastic plan. Leaving Mrs. Fox behind to rest, Mr. Fox and his young foxes begin frantically digging in one specific direction – Boggis’ Chicken House. They carefully steal some chickens and then are off to raid Bunce’s storehouse of ducks, geese, and vegetables, as well as Bean’s apple cider cellar.
On the way, they come across Badger who is also digging for his life and he tells the foxes that many digging animals are in danger because of the farmers’ plot against the foxes! Mr. Fox proves he is not just clever but also generous by inviting all the other animals for the greatest feast of all time, prepared from their recently stolen loot. He then has even grander plans to build an underground town and never have to go above ground again! The story ends with the farmers waiting in the pouring rain. It looks like they will be here for a long, long time.
Explain to students what themes are and their significance in literature. Help them understand that themes are central ideas or messages that the author wants to convey to the reader.
Read "Fantastic Mr. Fox" together as a class or in smaller groups. Encourage students to actively engage with the text and take note of key events, character actions, and dialogue that contribute to the development of themes.
Guide students in brainstorming and identifying potential themes in the story. Prompt them to consider recurring ideas, character motivations, conflicts, and lessons conveyed throughout the book. Write down their suggestions on a shared board or chart paper.
Work with students to analyze and gather evidence from the text that supports their identified themes. Encourage them to find specific examples such as dialogue, character actions, or plot events that help develop and reinforce the themes they have chosen.
Engage students in a class discussion or small-group activities where they can analyze how the identified themes are developed throughout the story. Encourage them to discuss the evidence they found and its significance in reinforcing the themes. Prompt them to explore how the author uses literary devices, character arcs, or plot progression to enhance the development of themes.
Guide students in reflecting on their analysis and summarizing their findings. Have them individually or in groups write short paragraphs or create visual representations that highlight the development of the identified themes in "Fantastic Mr. Fox." Encourage them to draw connections between the themes and their own lives or the world around them.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is ideally suited for readers in Grades 2-5. The book's rich vocabulary and engaging narrative make it a delightful read for young students.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a wonderful book to introduce young readers to the works of Roald Dahl. The story is not only entertaining but also provides opportunities to discuss themes like perseverance, cleverness, and family values. The story's rich vocabulary can also enhance students' language skills.
Students can learn valuable lessons about resilience, cleverness, and the importance of family from Fantastic Mr. Fox. The story's protagonist, Mr. Fox, displays these qualities as he outsmarts the three farmers to keep his family safe and fed. The story also promotes empathy and generosity, as seen when Mr. Fox invites other animals to share in the feast he procures.