age-range 10+ 'The day after I moved to the city I saw the fox. He was wrapped round the neck of a man, his red brush of a tail hanging down one side, his little head with its bright eyes on the other side. And the eyes were watching me - he was a living scarf!' Gerard is new to the city and new to his school. He is not getting on well at school and spends much time on his bike exploring his new neighbourhood. By chance he comes across a homeless man - and his live, pet fox. Gradually the man, boy and fox strike up a friendship, and Gerard finds he has much to learn from the man on the street. A touching, moving story about a boy learning more about the world - and growing up.
Gerard Lavelle is a misunderstood, frustrated ten-year-old who does not get on well at school. His frustration is born of boredom. Neither his teachers nor his parents seem to have picked up on his talent for drawing and writing. He is isolated socially, with no brothers or sisters and no friends: as he says, 'kids had kept picking on me, teachers had kept picking on me'. Nor does he get on well with his parents, who seem quite uninterested in him. When the family move to a new town, a chance meeting with a homeless man and his pet fox heralds the beginning of a friendship that will affect all aspects of Gerard's life. The homeless man inspires Gerard's drawing and writing and also encourages him to try harder at school. Not only does this get Gerard's talents recognized but it leads to his parents taking more notice of him, resulting in an improvement in their relationship. Gerard's developing friendship with the homeless man is mirrored by his increasing maturity. This is an incredibly moving story that should provoke much discussion about our attitudes to the homeless, as well as the importance of recognizing each individual for their own talents. The characters of both Gerard and the homeless man are beautifully written and are aptly illustrated by the child-like drawings of Christopher Corr. Whilst the subject matter makes this novel suitable for the 10+ age group it is an easy read with short chapters, making it a good choice for reluctant readers. This story was commissioned by the Cork Simon Community, a voluntary organization that works with the homeless, and a percentage of the proceeds of the sales of the book will be going to the organization. However, it stands in its own right as an excellent piece of children's fiction. Ages 10-13 (Kirkus UK)