"Boggis and Bunce and Bean
One fat, one short, one lean.
These horrible crooks
So different in looks
Were nonetheless equally mean."
Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of my favorite read-alouds for children of all ages. Wee ones are captivated by Dahl's stories because they sense that he is at heart just one of them. He exposes the follies and weaknesses of adults, and champions the purity and magic of childhood. Most importantly, as my own seven-year-old says, his stories just rock. Mr. Fox sneaks out of his hole nightly to raid the farms of the three farmers described above. He brings the goods back home to feed his family. The lives of all the underground animals are threatened when the farmers decide to stop these assaults on their farms. Only Mr. Fox can save everyone as he leads a fantastically speedy dig further into the ground to escape first the shovels and then the bulldozers of the crazed humans.
Dahl's stories play out extremely well on the big screen (think Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches), and now, Fantastic Mr. Fox will be made into a stop-motion animated treat featuring the voices of George Clooney and Cate Blanchett as Mr. and Mrs. Fox. Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzmann will voice two of the despicable farmers, and Anjelica Huston is rumored to be taking an as yet unnamed role as well. You will have plenty of time to read or re-visit the book before seeing the film as the scheduled release date is not until November 2009.