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Cinnabar, the One O'Clock Fox

post written by Emma Filbrun

Title: Cinnabar, the One O’Clock Fox
Author: Marguerite Henry
Major Themes: Foxes, George Washington, Virginia
Synopsis: This fun story describes a fox that George Washington supposedly hunted.

Some stories we read for their historical value…some we read because they’re fun, and loosely educational. Cinnabar, the One O’Clock Fox falls into the latter category. I chose it to read aloud because it was in a list of books about George Washington, and I have always enjoyed Marguerite Henry’s books. We had great fun reading it together, but the only educational value we took away from it was the fact that George Washington enjoyed hunting foxes!

Cinnabar and his wife Vicky lived in a hole in the ground, as most foxes do, and they had four pups, as most foxes will. There, however, reality and the story part ways. We found it quite amusing to read the author’s description of the foxes’ life; these foxes cooked their food, and seasoned it with grasshoppers, red-legged beetles, and crickets from seasoning jars. They also had books in their home. So, if you want a realistic story of fox life, don’t bother with Cinnabar. If you want a fun story, though, this is it.

After the pups were born, Cinnabar had a hard life, providing for them. He was getting worn out with working all the time—and then he caught wind that a fox hunt was planned! Vicky encouraged him to take a day off and have fun being chased by the hounds, so he did. He planned his day, and set off to lead the hounds a merry chase. However, he hadn’t planned to get caught in a mill race, or a trap, and the day turned out far differently than he anticipated. Would he reach safety in time, or would the hounds and the hunters win? We loved the suspense of finding out what he did throughout the day of the hunt. As I said, this was a fun story, and the pictures, one or two ink drawings on each two-page spread, are great fun to study.

WARNING: Cinnabar frequently makes exclamations such as criminy, criminy and by jiminy or great jumping jehoshaphat or my stars and garters.

Age Levels:

Read Aloud—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12


Links to buy Cinnabar, the One O’Clock Fox:

Amazon: Paperback | Kindle | Hardcover

AbeBooks: View Choices on

Book Depository: Paperback | Hardcover


Foxes, George Washington, Virginia

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