The Ottumwa Courier

March 21, 2013

Ottumwa students enjoy visit from 'fantastic' Mrs. Fox

MARK NEWMAN
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — The children couldn’t take their eyes off the guest reader, a retiree who seemed to have as much energy as they did.

Linda Fox kept kids engaged at Agassiz Elementary School during story after story Thursday. Usually, guest readers join one classroom to read for 20 students. And they typically do so quietly.

It worked out well that Fox was enthusiastic and loud. Because as she switched from one character voice to another, more than a hundred little ones packing the gym produced a lot of noise when they laughed.

Each tale had her own bit of a twist, including an occasional plug for libraries; "Mrs. Fox" is a former Oskaloosa librarian.

In one story, the character’s son, away studying wildlife in Africa, sent her a package. In the box was a baby boa constrictor. Though the character said, “I always thought I hated snakes!” she quickly found that this visitor proved its worth as both a companion and an aid to teaching class.

But what do you feed a baby snake? A quick trip to the local public library and one startled librarian later, and she had the knowledge she needed.

There was no explanation, however, for why she knitted her slithering new friend a sweater.

There was also the story of “The Three Bears —as told by Mrs. Fox.”

The story is updated a bit: The bears own a TV and a waterbed, and instead of porridge, they eat chili.

The story ends with the bear family calling the police on the little blond trespasser and demanding restitution for damages.