Fox Mykyta by Ivan Franko, Bohdan Melnyk & William Kurelek

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Ivan Franko's Ukrainian Classic Fox Mykyta
English Version by Bohdan Melnyk
Illustrated by William Kurelek

4to. pp. 152. b/w illustrations. hardcover. dw. (near fine - head of spine creased & torn, couple short tears to edges of dust wrapper). [Montreal]: Tundra Books, [1978].

First Edition in English. First Printing.

ISBN-10: 0887761127 / ISBN-13: 9780887761126


Twenty-five tales, including elements of Ukrainian folklore, relate the adventures of the wily Fox Mykyta who relies on his wits to outwit his enemies.

As Aesop is famous for his fables, so, too, is Ivan Franko famous for his scripted stories and fables. In fact, Fox Mykyta is based on Ukrainian author Ivan Franko's classic children's poem, Lys Mykyta, which is as well known to Ukrainian children as is Mother Goose to English children, and is remarkably retold by Ukrainian-born Bohdan Melnyk, who created this charming light-hearted prose version that is as fun-filled as Franko's. Albeit recommended decidedly for ages 10-12 by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany as The Best of the Best of Children's English version of Лис Микита Literature from 110 Countries, nonetheless, it must be emphasized that anyone under or over those ages who doesn't read Fox Mykyta will truly miss out on superb storytelling and enchanting illustrations.
Franko retold the ancient Reynard the Fox stories and enriched them with Ukrainian folklore, sharpened their humor, and molded the more than 25 tales into one brilliantly constructed whole. Ivan Franko took the Ukrainian proverb 'where there is wisdom, there you will find good luck,' and made it the theme of Lys Mykyta. In Fox Mykyta, Ukrainian Bohdan Melnyk made Fox Mykyta the eternal rebel--irresistible, independent, and indomitable. Using only his wit and his wits, Fox Mykyta astutely uses the moral flaws of his enemies to triumph over them--Wolf's greed, Cat's thieving, Rabbit's opportunism, Bear's hypocrisy, Goat's obsequiousness and even the lust for treasure of King Lion himself; only the guileless Badger and Babye escapes Fox's cunning.
A fox is not only sly, crafty, and cunning, but also it's clever, furry, and fun. A fave children's character often found in stories worldwide, the Japanese word for fox is kitsune, and foxes are common subjects of Japanese folklore akin to European faeries. Mention Fox Mykyta, and most Ukrainians will automatically think of Ivan Franko and his beloved children's classic, Lys Mykyta. Why? Because lys in Ukrainian means fox.

The original Ukrainian version of Lys Mykyta by Ivan Franko was published in Western Ukraine in 1890; this 1978 edition, Fox Mykyta, is the first English version, and it's remarkably retold by Ukrainian-born Bohdan Melnyk,
In 1890, Franko began writing poems for children; his first was Lys Mykyta, the most popular and lasting of all his works. The following year, he issued an adaptation for children of Cervantes' Don Quixote; this was followed in 1903 by a book of fables called Koly zviri hovoryly (When the Animals Talked).
Award-winning illustrator William Kurelek (1927-1977) was a Canadian realist artist (landscape painter and highly regarded illustrator of children’s books) and writer.