Outskirts Press (2017)
Reviewed by Rose Whitacre (age 7) for Reader Views Kids
“Shimji: The Channel Island Vixen” by Christina Steiner is a really fun book. It’s about a Channel Island vixen, which is a female fox from the Channel Islands, off the coast of California. This book is very exciting because it’s about Shimji’s fantastic adventure getting to the mainland and back home again. It was very hard for Shimji to reach the mainland and then get back to her island again. Throughout her adventures, she met lots of different creatures. Some of them helped her and some did not.
First, when she was still on her island, she met Malibu, the sea lion, who told her about the mainland. Then, Topanga, a seagull, told her more about the mainland and the humans who lived there. Shimji knew she wanted to cross the ocean and go to the mainland because she had been taught by her parents that her ancestors had lived there, and she wanted to find out what it was all about. When she made it to the mainland, she met two opossums named Jacy and Koko. They warned her about snakes and taught her about opossum life. Next, she met the squirrels. They thought she was a dog, and they thought something was wrong with her because she didn’t bark. She was scared of a train coming, she thought it was a monster, but then she met Thunder the jumping horse, who gave her a safe place to stay and told her about his travels and his life before he retired. After she left Thunder, some dogs chased her and she got away by running into a fenced-in yard where she met Blackout, the cat. They quickly became friends, and he took her into the “human den”, which he called his castle! Then, she met his humans, who knew that she was a Channel Island Fox and wanted to return her to her island. The park rangers wanted to put Shimji in the zoo instead of returning her to the Island because she might bring germs that weren’t from the Channel Islands back to the foxes there, putting them in danger. Blackout helped Shimji escape from being sent to the zoo on the mainland, and it was sad when they had to say goodbye. After even more adventures, I was happy when Shimji finally got back to her island safely.
Shimji is my very favorite character in the whole book. She was very brave and adventurous, she knew how to protect herself, and she went on a quest to find out more about the world around her. I’ve had adventures in our backyard woods with my cousins, and they were really fun. It’s fun to explore, and Shimji’s story relates to my adventure in that she started out in the woods, too. There are many ways for kids to learn about the world that don’t include leaving their families. Reading books (like this one!), talking to other people, and exploring my own yard are some ways that I like to learn about the world around me. Foxes can’t read, so the only way Shimji could really learn about the mainland was to go there. I learned a lot from this book!
I think when the author wrote this book, she was thinking about the mainland, islands, and foxes. I think she wanted to teach children about Channel Island Foxes and some other animals, too. I really like a lot of the characters, especially Topanga the seagull. She helped Shimji get back to the island. I also really like Haku the fox because they became mates at the end. It was really nice that she meets a lot of friends on her journey. At the end of the book, there is a section with facts about Channel Island Foxes. I learned that they are multicolored, which is really fun. They are about 1 foot tall and only weigh 4-5 pounds. I would like to see one of them for myself someday.
I think this book is for people who like foxes and adventures. I think that ages 4-109 would all like this book. We read it out loud and my four year old sister really liked it, too. I think that boys and girls would all like it. Everyone could find something that they enjoyed in this book, probably. I like how the pictures are really fun, creative, and cute. “Shimji: The Channel Island Vixen” by Christina Steiner is a fantastic adventure about a fox, and I would definitely recommend it to my friends!