Fantastic Mr. Fox Lesson Plans

Reading Fantastic Mr. Fox, pupils can learn about foxes while also enjoying some great literature.

By Kristen Kindoll

Fantastic Mr. Fox

There are many sayings attributed to a fox: "Crazy like a fox," "Hey, Foxy Mama," or "Like a Fox in a Hole". Those little, whimsical turns can't compare to the apt title the Fantastic Mr. Fox, a perfect ode to a truly, remarkable character and animal. The novel Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl has been turned into a movie. Before watching the movie, read the story with your child. 

Roald Dahl was the only son of a second marriage. While he kept a diary from the age of eight, and wrote a weekly letter to his mother until her death, he stumbled onto a writing career by accident. The Official Roald Dahl website has an abbreviated biography and photographs for perusal. It is the go-to site for all things Dahl. Research Roald Dahl is a great resource to use when asking children conduct a study of the life of the writer. After completing the lesson, students pick another author to investigate on their own.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is about how Mr. Fox saves his family and friends from starvation. His ability to quickly get out of a predicament is not only enchanting, but truly clever. With the help of his good friends, and his own children, Mr. Fox is able to provide a feast for all, supplied unwittingly by his tormentors: Boggis, Bunce, and Beans. The movie uses stop motion animation. George Clooney is the lead voice. The actor's personality is the perfect embodiment of Mr. Fox. Meryl Streep is the loving and adoring wife, who gives her husband the fantastic mantle. The official movie site has pictures of the characters and downloads for children.

Animal friendships are explored in the novel. There are several classic literature books that are perfect companions to Fantastic Mr. Fox, including The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. This book examines the leisure class in Edwardian England. Mr. Toad, one of the characters, gets involved in humorous escapades, and his hobbies become all-consuming. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White has an unlikely friendship between a pig and a spider. The love between them overcomes what seems like impossible obstacles. Both books have numerous movie adaptations.

There are other ways to provide activities related to Fantastic Mr. Fox.  You can study Foxes. The Fox Website has information on ecology, habitat, and even attitudes toward the red fox. Burrowing animals factor heavily into the story. There is even the moral question posed about whether stealing by animals is considered morally right or wrong. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can answer questions about controlling animal populations and protecting the nation's wildlife. The ideas that follow can lead to a more in-depth study of Fantastic Mr. Fox.

For further study using Fantastic Mr. Fox, see :

Hunting, Gathering & Harvesting has children read several legends about hunting. Pupils compose their own stories on the subject, and discuss their feelings about hunting.

Foxes asks learners to research foxes. They write original poems, using the information they gathered as inspiration.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox is a comprehensive unit on the book.  There are story problems and test questions included.