Frani and the Little Red Fox By Artie Knapp

An unlikely group of animals is terrorised by a mysterious toothed creature attacking from the sky in Artie Knapp's children's tale, illustrated by Katherine Thomas.

Three hippopotamuses were snuggled close together. And they were frightened. A lion sitting close by was, too. Everything was shaking all around them.

"Oh no, here it comes!" said one of the hippos.

An animal with very large teeth soared down from the sky. It went for the lion, but missed! This was not the first time the animal had made such a visit. In fact, it often came and went without warning.

"We have got to get out of here," said another hippo.

"Yeah, and go where?" asked the lion. "No matter where we go that thing follows us."

Suddenly strange noises could be heard close by. They all feared the worst. But this time, it was friendly animals that were heading their way. The hippos and lion had never seen them before. The group included several giraffes and one little red fox.

The little red fox felt nervous to be so close to a lion and hippos. But he was a friendly little fox and introduced himself. He soon realized, however, that his new friends were more nervous than he was. The hippos and lion were still talking about the animal with large teeth that came down from the sky. And they were surprised to hear that the giraffes and little red fox had never seen it.

"Ladies and gentlemen, not to fear," said the little red fox. "What needs to happen here is quite clear."

"And what is that?" demanded the lion.

"We need to stick together," said the little red fox.

The little red fox said that by sticking together they could perhaps reason with the animal with large teeth.

"A little courage goes a long way," said the little red fox.

And then everything all around started to shake.

"Oh my, run for it!" said the little red fox.

The little red fox ran as fast as he could. He jumped onto the back of one of the giraffes as it stood up to run. Then he climbed up its long neck to hide. The little red fox was so scared that he forgot what the hippos had told him and the giraffes: the animal with large teeth always came down from the sky.

Meanwhile, a grandfather was standing next to his granddaughter as she dropped two coins into a machine.

"You'll do it this time, Frani," said her grandfather. "Just take your time."

Frani carefully moved the joystick straight ahead. Then she tapped it twice towards the left. Below were three hippopotamuses and one lion. And sitting right behind them were several giraffes. Those would all make fine new friends for Frani, but it was a little red fox that she longed to take home. Frani moved the claw down towards the little red fox. And then, she grabbed him!

As she took the little red fox out of the machine, Frani gave him a big hug. Frani's grandfather celebrated by taking her and the little red fox out for ice-cream.


  1. if I still had a small child I would definitely read this to him/her!
    it´s very clever, with a great ending and brilliant illustrations!

    well done

    Mike McC

  2. Wonderful! Great illustrations too .... playful perspectives and I'm sure that Frani will love the little red fox to bits. Maybe she'll come back for the others now that she has such finely honed skills - and they can all be reunited and play together when the lights go out at night?

  3. Splendidly irresistible; the world of tiny animal figurines which have a life of their own! What a beautiful fox! I'm not surprised Frani dropped the lion, those chrome claws always seem designed to minimize ones chances!

  4. Sorry, my original comment was full of typos!
    It's a really clever story, beautiful in the simplicity of its writing and the twist was a brilliant surprise that genuinely made me smile. Lovely pics too, it would also make a great short animation.

  5. What a clever denouement! A happy outcome for the little red fox, and children will love this story, as also the illustrations. Keep writing, Artie!

  6. What a delightful bedtime story! Beautifully written and fascinating for children.


  7. Smply delightful storytelling here! So sweet, to think of those animals, animated behind the glass of the box, and the girl, on the other side, unaware!

  8. I really loved this story. It is delightful, as other commenters have said, like a well-constructed little fable. I'm excited to share this one with some friends who I know will enjoy the clever storytelling. Thank you for sharing it.