Review sponsored* by Chickasaw Press
The Children’s Book Review
Chula the Fox
Written by Anthony Perry
Age Range: 10-14
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: White Dog Press (October 5, 2018)
What to expect: Indigenous People: Chickasaw Nation, Culture, Heritage, Coming of Age, Action, Loss
The author’s experience of his father’s sudden death, research to learn and connect with his ancestors, and the discovery of first-hand accounts of eighteenth-century events has led to this well-executed and vivid coming-of-age story that not only acts as an introduction to Chickasaw heritage and culture, but explores the concepts of grief, revenge, and compassion.
Chula has courage, heart, and, like all Chickasaw boys, the desire to be a great warrior, just like his brother, who passed away three summers ago. While smaller than his brother had been at his age, Chula is fast and agile. Nukni, Chula’s adversary, is a year older, bigger, and stronger than most of the boys in the village. After both characters experience great loss in a surprise attack from the Choctaws, Nukni’s unkindness toward Chula grows and the rivalry between them looks like it might hamper their chances to join the Chickasaw warriors and seek the revenge on the Choctaws that they so desire.
Filled with absorbing action and danger (hunting and attacks take place with both bows and arrows, as well as guns), readers will surely learn that size and strength are not precursors for greatness Anthony Perry’s descriptive prose creates a clear sensory experience, blending sounds and sights into sentences that create effortless imagery in the mind.
“Red-orange hues of sunlight spilled onto the trail, breaking up the shadows left from the night. A cool breeze brushed my cheek as I looked up through the canopy of leaves, shading my eyes with my hand. We crept along the dirt trail until a rustle in the underbrush caught our attention.”
Scattered throughout the pages are black-and-white illustrations that aid readers further in visualizing the scenery. Additionally, the Chickasaw language is threaded throughout seamlessly, and a glossary of the Chickasaw words used closes out the book.
Chula the Fox makes a great addition to the important “own voice” movement, in which the main character and author share an identity. Filled with hard truths and the importance of family, this is an enthralling middle grade novel deserving of a spot on home and library bookshelves.
For more information, visit: https://chickasawpress.com
About the Author
Anthony Perry grew up in Oklahoma and now lives in England with his wife and young children. He works as a quality improvement manager in the National Health Service in England and volunteers with hospitals in Pakistan to improve health services. He loves history and enjoys spending time with his family and traveling.
Perry has an undergraduate degree in comparative religion from Dartmouth College, a master’s degree in public health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and a master’s degree in public policy from Birkbeck College, University of London.
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