Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fox Talks Book Tour

Fox Talk Blog Tour Button

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
Pages: 62
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.  

Guest Post:

Wolves and Dogs and Foxes, Oh My!

Have you ever wondered how dogs came from wolves? It’s amazing when you think about it. In many parts of the world, wolves are competition for people, hunting livestock or wild game species that we rely on for food. How did they go from being shy predators that avoid people, to creatures that eat from our hands and let babies pull their ears?

The origin of domestic animals like dogs, cats, and horses was a difficult puzzle to unravel, because the process began so long ago. Recent evidence for dogs, the first species to make the change, suggests they may have started the transition as much as 35,000 years before the present.

Dmitri Belyaev was fascinated by domestication. To understand how it worked, he decided to try recreating the process – this would allow scientists to watch as changes occurred. He bought red foxes from fur farms and tested their responses towards people, then allowed the tamest animals to breed. Over the generations, the previously wild foxes became domesticated – they went through an evolutionary process that altered their DNA, turning their fear of people into a fierce desire for snuggles.

I first read about these amazing foxes in 2000, when I was starting my PhD on the genetics of Canadian wolves and arctic foxes. My very first thought was “I want one!” My second thought was that kids would want one too, and that’s how the idea for Fox Talk: How Some Very Special Animals Helped Scientists Understand Communication came to be. While I was writing the book, I read all of the research studies that have been done on these animals, talked to some of the scientists involved, and even got to spend an entire day watching and interacting with them in real life. Best day ever! J

As a result, I want my very own domestic fox even more. Just think – an animal that’s as tame as a dog or a cat, but still has all of the energy and agility and mischievousness that makes it a fox. How cool is that?

Unfortunately, I live in Canada, and our government hasn’t yet realized that Belyaev’s foxes are a unique domestic species. Here, they are still considered wild animals, and you’re only allowed to have them if you’ve got at least ten and you’re going to raise them for fur or research. Other countries are a bit more accepting, however, and domestic foxes are now living as pets all around the world. And as Belyaev intended, they’ve answered some critical questions about domestication, and are now giving us irreplaceable information about how our pets think and communicate.

What about you? Would you like a fox of your own? What animal would make a perfect pet for you?


We learned so much about foxes in this book.  "Fox Talk" is so informative.  The interactive version was great for the Beanie Babies when they were lacking attention spans.  It was really neat to see the short video clips while we were reading about the foxes.  Most of the text was easy enough for the Big One to read on her own.  She liked that we let her read aloud.  When we asked if they enjoyed the book, both yelled "yes!"

The Big One:  I liked this book.  It was good and I learned a lot about foxes.  The pictures were really good, too.  I think we should get a fox.
Ms Middle:  YAY!  We're getting a fox!
The Hubs:  No, we're not!
Ms Middle:  But the Big One said we are, and I want one.
Me:  I don't think it's a good idea to have a fox in the house.
Ms Middle:  Well, the fox could stay outside.
Me:  Let's talk more about the book.  What was your favorite part?
The Big One:  The whole thing.  It was SO good!
Ms Middle:  I liked all the facts.
Me:  Facts, Ms Middle?
Ms Middle:  The information, mom!
Me:  Oh, ok.

While we're not getting a fox, I'm very excited for our next adventure to the zoo.  I think the Beanie Babies will have a little but more appreciation for the fox exhibit now.  It will be fun to see how much the Beanie Babies remember from the book.  We'll probably read through it again right before we go.  Maybe we'll spend a little more time at their section this go around.

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


Fox Talk by L.E. Carmichael

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Chapter/Indigo (Canada)

About The Author: L.E. Carmichael

L.E. Carmichael 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.

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Ashby Publishers  

Fox Talk Blog Tour Schedule (2014)

January 27
January 28
January 29
January 30
January 31
February 1
February 2
February 3
February 4
February 5
February 6
February 7
February 8
February 10
February 11
February 12
February 13
February 14
February 15
February 16

* Blog Tour Giveaway *

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card (or PayPal cash) + a Skype visit to a school or library of the winner's choice ($250 value). Contest runs: January 27th to February 21, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Worldwide How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the publisher, Ashby-BP Publishing and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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