ARC Review: LEILA AND THE BLUE FOX by Kiran Millwood Hargrave with Tom de Freston (Middle Grade Monday)

I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on blurred image of a fox on an iceberg on a blue sea
Genre: Contemporary
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone


Book cover for LEILA AND THE BLUE FOX: title in white on blue beneath a

She was very tired. She lay down, her soft head on her soft paws. The sunset licked her face. The snow covered her like a blanket.

Fox wakes, and begins to walk. She crosses ice and snow, over mountains and across frozen oceans, encountering bears and birds beneath the endless daylight of an Arctic summer, navigating a world that is vast, wild and wondrous.

Meanwhile, Leila embarks on a journey of her own – finding her way to the mother who left her. On a breathtaking journey across the sea, Leila rediscovers herself and the mother she thought she’d lost, with help from a determined little fox.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


LEILA AND THE BLUE FOX is a book about complicated families. It’s also about journeys, emotional and physical, and the beauty and brutality of the arctic. It’s another gorgeous read, fully illustrated that’s a great gift for a young reader.

The arctic is brought to vivid life, with the research vessel and trip across the ice fields. Alongside the exploration of the wild, we get two complicated mother-daughter relationships as the extremities of the trip increase the tensions over what is valued more.

Alongside being a delightful tale of travel and families, the book also touches on immigration and refugee routes. It discusses the lasting impact of the conflict that was fled, the routes taken, and detention centres. It’s a great way of introducing those topics to younger readers, with further reading included at the back (as well as for the arctic animals.)

Like their previous collaboration, this book is illustrated throughout. The style looked different to JULIA AND THE SHARK. While this could be because I was reading this digitally and the previous in print, but it helped these books feel different. The art was almost stick figure-esque for the humans, and more detailed animals and background. It really helped give a sense of the humans being utterly alien in this arctic realm.

I look forward to their next collaboration.

Read my reviews of other books by Kiran Millwood Hargrave:

Young Adult:





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s