About the book: Today I picked up Fantastic Mr. Fox from the Salvation Army for only .99. I have seen the movie and found it entertaining, so I bought the book. Mr. Fox must feed his children, therefore, he gathers his food from three of the meanest farmers. Boggis the chicken farmer and Bunce the duck-and-goose farmer are both gluttons. Last but not least, Bean was a turkey-and-apple farmer. Rather than gluttony, his besetting sin was drunkenness. Unfortunately for Mr. Fox the farmers decided that they were tired of sharing with the fox family. They devised a plan to terminate the fox family, but they were not counting on the cleverness of Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Mr. Fox responds to shovels, caterpillars, and many armed men by staying underground. While the farmers are patiently waiting to starve Mr. Fox out, he is wreaking havoc underground. Mr. Fox dug right up to each farm and took whatever he wanted. The animals of the hill would never need to go above ground again.
Analysis and moral application:
On one occasion the badger takes the Lord’s name in vain. (p. 61) This may not be a problem for others, but it is my own personal conviction that such a cliche’ is a misuse of God’s name, and therefore “in vain.” Near the end of the story Badger feels guilty about stealing the food. Mr. Fox reassures badger that the farmers are being mean and that they won’t stoop to their level of attempted murder. This argument appeases badger.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a fun story, but I believe there are a few lessons that we can share with our children. The animals take on human tendencies and characteristics; they talk, rationalize, and feel sorrow and guilt. The humans are pictured as the mean monsters and they lose their composure as they fail to achieve their goal to kill Mr. Fox. When they are ridiculed by others they become increasingly angry and more determined. At the end of the story they are the fools left out in the rain. Of course, they are depicted as fools in the beginning of the story, two gluttons and a drunk who are ridiculed by children.
In reality animals do not have a conscience nor can they rationalize. However, humans have the ability to rationalize. But at times we forfeit that responsibility and act like animals. In our frustration and anger we make rash decisions that ultimately make us look foolish, and sometimes we behave like immoral animals, as depicted by the farmers.
We are not animals, we are created in the image of God. Created by God, to have fellowship with Him, and to experience the fulness and joy of His relationship, and to care for the rest of God’s creation.