Adventures of Rusty and Ginger Fox

by Tim Ostermeyer

{ 2010 | Synergy Books | 48 pgs }

On Amazon this book has all 4- and 5-star reviews. While the pictures are quite stunning (and adorable), the book as a whole is mediocre at best. I think that, intentional or not, people are more likely to view a book favorably when they’ve received a copy to review. The other possibility is that people are just easily impressed and have poor taste. Which do you think it is?

My first complaint is that the author is listed as “Master Photographer and Author.” As far as I can tell, “master photographer” is more of a title one gives oneself than an actual certification of any sort, so it seems rather pompous of Ostermeyer to bill himself as such. To be fair, his photographs are very well-done. Baby foxes romping through the forest? Yes, please!

My second complaint is the “story” of Rusty and Ginger, two red foxes who go exploring. The writing is absolutely miserable. It’s fun to read facts about each new animal the foxes encounter, but these are side-notes to the story itself; when the foxes come across a treasure chest on an island and then enlist the aid of two little girls to open it, that’s going too far. The nail in the coffin was when the girls decide to share the money in the chest with the poor. You surely know that I’m a big advocate of helping others, but what does the girls’ generosity have to do with a book about foxes?!

My third complaint is the design of the book. Someone had a little too much fun with Photoshop effects. I don’t know how to describe it very well – it looks like most of the pictures have been “watercolored” around the edges to make room for the text. The title of the book is not only a hideous color, but it’s been “textured” to look like…I can’t even tell. It looks ridiculous. On the frontispiece is “This Book Belongs to _____” and its counterpart at the end of the book is “Have a Nice Day!” Wow.

I will say, the Bwun enjoyed looking at the pictures. So there you have it. This book is great for one-year-olds and those who have no sense of good writing or aesthetics.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Adventures of Rusty and Ginger Fox to review, but that didn’t influence my opinion. Obviously.


7 Comments on “Adventures of Rusty and Ginger Fox”

  1. Romgi says:

    best I can tell the front (embossed!?) text is supposed to be sand dunes.

  2. I am a Master Photographer (Professional degreed title earned by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) given to only 1 of 100 professional photographers). You are the only reviewer of 25 reviewers online that did not like the book. The other 25 reviewers loved it, using words like “delightful book, superb, artisitc, educational and beautiful book, beautifully written and illustrated. Only 1 photo in the book contained photoshop work. The title of the book picks up the color tone of the foxes. Reviewers online said their children from 2 to 12 loved the book.

  3. KHL says:

    I was a fox who lived on the sand dunes in my former life …

  4. mikaroni says:

    Mr. Ostermeyer – I stand by my comments. Telling me that everyone else liked the book doesn’t influence me or make me feel as though I must have been wrong. My opinion is that the book is poorly written and poorly designed.

    The term I was looking for was vignetting. I didn’t care for the Photoshop effects around the edges of each image.

    I read the other reviews online and have to disagree that the other reviewers all loved the book. Several of them pointed out the discord of the ending, and I saw at least one reviewer mention that she would not have bought the book on her own.

    My strongest feeling about the book is that as parents, we should never purposely give our children books that are mediocre. I’m very particular about what books I read and there’s no reason to be less discriminating in the books I give my son. I want him to develop an appreciation for good literature, and I certainly don’t feel this book helps.

  5. I respect your opinion, but I stand by the fact that 20 of 24 reviewers loved the book with glowing reviews with not 1 single negative comment in these 20 reviewers which helped sell 480 books in the first month of sale. I used photoshop edges to paint the edges of some photos, the same software package that Lost in the Woods used to sell 800,000 books. 35 of the 44 pages did not have vignetting around the entire image, but my opinion was that I did like the vignetting when used especially with the 3 gorgeous adroable photos of the little girl with the fox on page 43. As I said I do respect your opinion, have a nice day and great new year.

  6. Megan says:

    I was so curious after reading your review that I had to take a look at this book. While I didn’t have a problem with the book design, and I thought the photographs were adorable, I wouldn’t recommend this book either. The writing was nothing short of terrible. I liked the idea of incorporating facts about the animals highlighted, but it wasn’t done in a creative way. And the part at the end with the treasure chest – huh? Weird element to the book.
    I looked online at all the reviews I could find, and they were all positive – seriously, who are the people reviewing this book??

  7. Marine says:

    OK so I bought this book as well as another on about the penguins. I am not a writer at all. I’m just a mom. The penguin book had an attempt at rhyming but it was incredibly confusing and did not have a particularly strong story line. I wish I could rewrite this whole story to these precious pictures. On the second to last page of the actual story there is a picture with camera men photographing penguins and wearing their yellow parka due to extreme temps. Then on the back inside of the book jacket, there is that SAME picture only its cropped and one man in the picture has Tim’s head on it but it looks kind of odd. Maybe edited on there? It just looks really weird. And there is a pic of Tim holding a tiger in another one of the books and that one looks questionable as well. Not I can’t say that for sure, but it just looks suspicious. Anyways, the books bore me, and my kids only like them because of the pictures. They don’t even listen to me read them. The books are signed and even the grammar in the signing is terrible. I also noticed that in the book about Frosty and Snowy, at the end in the acknowledgements, the book is dedicated to, “my parents, siblings, spouses, nieces, nephews, …) Spouses? As in more than one or as in someone else’s spouses? Odd right? I can say I am not happy and I wish I could return these. Guess I should have read them before purchasing! The best part was a stuffed animal I bought off the table that had nothing to do with the books at all really.

Be opinionated! We certainly are.

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