About the Book
Title: Fox Talk
Author: L.E. Carmichael, PhD
Book Designer: Michael Penman
Illustrator: Jody Bronson
Photography: Brian Dust
Publication Date: August 8, 2013
Publisher: Ashby-BP Publishing
Recommended Age: 8+
When you talk to a dog, does the dog talk back? Many people think so. But for a long time, scientists didn’t know how our furry friends learned to communicate with people. Luckily, Russian scientist Dmitri Belyaev had a plan. If he could tame wild red foxes, he could learn how dogs first came from wolves. By studying the way these foxes changed during domestication, the mystery of communication would be solved at a last. More than 50 years after the experiment began, Belyaev’s foxes have become so tame, you can have one as a pet! Packed with eye-popping photos and first-hand research, FOX TALK reveals the story of these amazing animals… and everything they’ve taught us about wolves, dogs, and communication.
Tristan (age 6) says about Fox Talk, “I love it a lot, more than I thought I was going to love it!”. Kallista (age 3) said about Fox Talk, “Mom, I want it again ’cause I just love it!”
It is interesting to learn about domestic foxes and how quickly they transform from wild to domesticated. Children will enjoy learning about how species communicate with each other. The psychology student in me finds these things fascinating, and I enjoy sharing my passions with my children.
This is a good first dip into the world of genetics and how they are modified over time. Fox Talk explains in simple language how this Russian experiment was carried out and replicated. With the cross references to dogs and wolves, as well as to physical characteristics, it will help children visualise and retain the information.
The photographs are beautiful and shows the playfulness of the domestic foxes when interacting with each other and with children.
My children are perhaps a bit young to understand about genetics and the nature/nurture arguments, but they have really enjoyed listening to me read Fox Talk to them. As homeschoolers we will keep this book in our collection so the kids can look at it anytime. In the future we’ll bring it out again and revisit how communication develops and how animals become domesticated.
Early Buzz About the Book
“Fox Talk is an educational non-fiction title exploring the domestication of dogs by studying fox behaviour and communication. The information is presented with beautiful photographs, illustrations, bubbles/boxes of brief information, and descriptions of the research findings using age-appropriate language. I think this would be an excellent resource in elementary schools or for homeschoolers in particular and I highly recommend it.” ~ 5-Star Review, Mother Daughter Book Reviews
About The Author: L.E. Carmichael
Lindsey Carmichael never outgrew that stage of childhood when nothing’s more fun than amazing your friends (and correcting your teachers!) with your stockpile of weird and wonderful facts. Her sense of wonder came in handy during her career as a scientist, and in 2006, she received the Governor General’s Medal for her PhD thesis, Ecological Genetics of Northern Wolves and Arctic Foxes. Lindsey finds talking about science more fun than doing it, however, and now writes for kids, teens, and occasionally adults (a sense of wonder is essential for this, too). Lindsey publishes under the name L E Carmichael, and her work has appeared in Dig, Highlights for Children, Kiki, and Canadian Tales of the Fantastic. Her published science books cover everything from animal migration to hybrid cars. When not digging up obscure or wacky details for her next nonfiction project, Lindsey’s probably working on her young adult fantasy novel.