Fantastic Mr Fox

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Fantastic Mr Fox
Hardcover first edition cover
Author Roald Dahl
CountryUnited Kingdom
Genre Children's
Publication date
1970 (1970)
Media typeHardcover
ISBN 0-394-80497-X

Fantastic Mr Fox is a children's novel written by British author Roald Dahl. It was published in 1970, by George Allen & Unwin in the UK and Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S., with illustrations by Donald Chaffin. The first U.K. Puffin paperback, first issued in 1974, featured illustrations by Jill Bennett. Later editions have featured illustrations by Tony Ross (1988) and Quentin Blake (1996). The story is about Mr. Fox and how he outwits his farmer neighbours to steal their food from right under their noses. In 2009, it was adapted into a film by Wes Anderson.

Childrens literature stories, books, and poems that are enjoyed by and targeted primarily towards children

Children's literature or juvenile literature includes stories, books, magazines, and poems that are enjoyed by children. Modern children's literature is classified in two different ways: genre or the intended age of the reader.

Roald Dahl British novelist, short story writer, poet, fighter pilot and screenwriter

Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter, and fighter pilot. His books have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide.

Allen & Unwin Australian publishing company

Allen & Unwin is an Australian independent publishing company, established in Australia in 1976 as a subsidiary of the British firm George Allen & Unwin Ltd., which was founded by Sir Stanley Unwin in August 1914 and went on to become one of the leading publishers of the twentieth century.


Two audio readings were released, one with the author narrating ( ISBN   0-060-53627-6) and another with Martin Jarvis narrating ( ISBN   0-141-80787-3).

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Martin Jarvis, OBE is an English actor and voice actor. After a varied career in film and television, he has become particularly noted for his voice acting for radio and audiobooks.

Plot summary

The story revolves around an anthropomorphic, tricky, and clever fox named Mr. Fox who lives underground beside a tree with his wife and four children. In order to feed his family, he makes night visits to farms owned by three wicked, rude, cruel and dim-witted farmers named Boggis, Bunce and Bean and snatches away the livestock available on each man's farm. Tired of being outsmarted by Mr. Fox, the farmers devise a plan to ambush him as he leaves his burrow, but they succeed only in shooting off his tail.

The farmers then dig up the Foxes' burrow using spades and then excavators. The Foxes manage to escape by burrowing further beneath the earth to safety. The trio of farmers are ridiculed for their persistence but they refuse to give up and vow not to return to their farms until they have caught Mr. Fox. They then decide to surround Mr. Fox's hole and wait until he is hungry enough to come out. Cornered by their enemies, Mr. Fox and his family, and all the other underground creatures that lived around the hill, begin to starve.

After three days trapped underground, Mr. Fox devises a plot to acquire food. Working from Mr. Fox's memory of the routes he has taken above ground, he and his children tunnel through the ground and wind up burrowing to one of Boggis' four chicken houses. Mr. Fox kills several chickens and sends his eldest son to carry the food back home to Mrs. Fox. On the way to their next destination, Mr. Fox runs into his friend Badger and asks him to accompany him on his mission, as well as to extend an invitation to the feast to the other burrowing animals - Badger and his family, as well as the Moles, the Rabbits and the Weasels - to apologize for getting them caught up in the farmers' hunt. Aided by Badger, the animals tunnel to Bunce's mighty storehouse for ducks, geese, hams, bacon and carrots - as noted by one of the Small Foxes, the Rabbits will require vegetables - and then to Bean's secret cider cellar. Here, they are nearly caught by the Beans' servant Mabel, and have an unpleasant confrontation with the cellar's resident, Rat. They carry their loot back home, where Mrs. Fox has prepared a great celebratory banquet for the starving underground animals and their families.

At the table, Mr. Fox invites everyone to live in a secret underground neighbourhood with him and his family, where he will hunt for them daily and where none of them will need to worry about the farmers any more. Everyone joyfully cheers for this idea, while Boggis, Bunce, and Bean are left waiting for the fox to emerge from his hole. The author concludes "And so far as I know, they are still waiting."


In 1994, Fantastic Mr Fox was awarded the Read Aloud BILBY Award from the Children's Book Council of Australia. [1]

The BILBY Awards are organised annually by the Queensland Branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia. The name of the award, BILBY, is an acronym of 'Books I Love Best Yearly'.

Childrens Book Council of Australia

The Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) is a not for profit organisation which aims to engage the community with literature for young Australians. The CBCA presents the annual Children's Book of the Year Awards to books of literary merit, recognising their contribution to Australian children's literature.


Film adaptation

The book was adapted into a film by director Wes Anderson. It was released in 2009 and features the voices of George Clooney as Mr. Fox, Meryl Streep as Mrs. Fox, Bill Murray as Badger, Robert Hurlstone as Boggis, Hugo Guinness as Bunce and Michael Gambon as Bean. The movie's plot focuses more on Mr. Fox's relationship to Mrs. Fox and his son, which is pitted against Mr. Fox's desire to steal chickens as a means of feeling like his natural self. The movie adds scenes before Mr. Fox attacks the three farmers and after their bulldozing of the hill, as well as a slightly altered ending and more background on Mr. Fox's past life as a thief of food. The Foxes' four children are replaced by Ash, a small and insecure fox who seeks his father's approval and Mr. Fox's nephew Kristofferson, who excels in athletics and is a source of jealousy for Ash.

Wes Anderson American filmmaker

Wesley Wales Anderson is an American filmmaker. His films are known for their distinctive visual and narrative styles. Anderson is regarded by some critics as a modern-day example of the auteur. He has received consistent praise from critics for his work, and three of his films—The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel—appeared in BBC's 2016 poll of the greatest films since 2000.

George Clooney American actor, filmmaker, and activist

George Timothy Clooney is an American actor, director, producer and filmmaker. He is the recipient of three Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards, one for acting in Syriana (2006) and the other for co-producing Argo (2012). In 2018, he was the recipient of the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award.

Meryl Streep American actress

Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is an American actress. Often described as the "best actress of her generation", Streep is particularly known for her versatility and accents. Nominated for a record 21 Academy Awards, she has won three. Among other accolades, she has received 31 Golden Globe nominations, winning eight.

Stage adaptations

The book was adapted into a play of the same name by David Wood and was first performed at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry in 2001. The play is licensed (in the U.K. only) through Casarotto Ramsay Ltd. for repertory performances and Samuel French Ltd. for amateur performances. [2]

David Wood, OBE is an actor, author, composer, magician and stage producer and director. The Times called him "the National Children's Dramatist".

Coventry City and Metropolitan borough in England

Coventry is a city, administrative centre and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England.

A musical adaptation of the book ran at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton during Christmas 2016 before touring the U.K. in early 2017. [3] [4]

<i>Fantastic Mr Fox</i> (musical)

Fantastic Mr Fox is a musical stage adaptation of the children's novel of the same name by Roald Dahl, adapted by Sam Holcroft with music by Arthur Darvill and lyrics by Holcroft, Darvill, Darren Clark and Al Muriel. The story follows Mr Fox who hatches a plan to outsmart his three farmer neighbours in order to feed his family and friends.


Tobias Picker adapted the book into an opera (the only adaptation with origins in the U.S.) which had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Opera performing 9–22 December in 1998. [5] [6] the Opera starred Gerald Finley as Mr Fox and Suzanna Guzman as Mrs Fox. [5] A specially commissioned new version of this opera by Opera Holland Park was performed in the gardens and natural scenery of Holland Park in the summer of 2010 staged by Stephen Barlow. This version starred Grant Doyle as Mr. Fox, Olivia Ray as Mrs. Fox, Henry Grant Kerswell, Peter Kent and John Lofthouse as Farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean. [7]

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  1. "Previous Winners of the BILBY Awards: 1990 – 96" (PDF). CBCA – Qld Branch. The Children's Book Council of Australia, Queensland Branch. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  2. "Fantastic Mr Fox – Adapted for the stage by David Wood". Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  3. "Fantastic Mr Fox musical to premiere at Southampton's Nuffield | News | The Stage". The Stage. 7 March 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  4. "The Fantastic Mr Fox UK Tour". Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  5. 1 2 "Larmore, Domingo to Open L.A. Opera Season". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 May 2012
  6. "The Los Angeles Opera's Fantastic Mr Fox". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 May 2012
  7. Fantastic Mr. Fox at Holland Park Theatre. Time Out London. Retrieved 30 May 2012