Juniper: The Happiest Fox by Jessika Coker

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

I extend a huge thank you to Whitewater Public Library for being the only one in our consortium of 24 libraries to carry a very special book, Juniper: The Happiest Fox by Jessika Coker. This amazing and true story reads like a picture book for adults. Images of a lovely snaggle-toothed fox pepper the pages and in each, Juniper the fox radiates pure joy, evident in her ever present-smile. This is a story about saving the animals we have put at risk, those that couldn’t survive because of how we have bred them and that often grow up without proper care and love. Jessika Coker and Juniper have done remarkable things and if I could grow up (more) to be just like her, I would. She is creating a safe haven for animals like Juniper, oddballs, who are passed by based on their looks or disabilities. “The light shines right through her eyes, straight to her heart, and when she looks at me I melt.”

There are so many wonderful quotes in this book and any animal lover will appreciate all the work she’s done to help give animals the happy lifetime homes they deserve, snaggle-toothed, missing an eye or a paw, what have you. “I was yours before I knew, and you have always been mine too.” Juniper’s best friend is a rescue dog named Moose who has “been there for everything. And he looks after me just as much as I look after him.” Coker understands these animals become family and the relationships we have with them are symbiotic. “I adored that she was being the animal she was born to be, that she would never be a conventional “pet.” I never wanted her to be that.”

Animals change lives. It doesn’t matter what species they are, Coker shows us that. “My goal was to remind them that we all share this earth, that all animals are individuals, just like we are.” In my opinion, she more than met her goal. This is a beautiful and sweet story complete with art made my Juniper herself. I’m so fond of this book because I don’t know what I’d do without the animals in my life; they give me hope each day. “She is my constant reminder that there is still goodness, purity and unconditional love in the world. The world can be heavy, but there’s still a little bit of magic if you know where to look.

Available through the Bridges Library System

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