XO, OX: A Love Story – Adam Rex, pictures by Scott Campbell

          XO, OX: A Love Story – Adam Rex, pictures by Scott Campbell, A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press, (9781626722880), 2017

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review)  4

Genre:   Picture Book

What did you like about the book?  This is a story of unrequited love told through the correspondence of a love struck Ox and a self-absorbed Gazelle.  Ox writes a letter to Gazelle in which he tells her he admires her and her gracefulness and she replies with a form letter sent by her mole manservant.  Ox doesn’t realize this and thanks her for her personal letter and gets the same form letter in reply.  The correspondence continues with Ox expressing his heartfelt feelings, while Gazelle gives him the brush off.  Finally Gazelle writes “Ox! Stop this! Please do not write me again. You are wasting your time. I could never love a clumsy thing. I could never love a smelly thing. I could never love an animal that is too large, and too stout, and who is…so thick and ungraceful and awful and unlovely. And unlovable. I could never, ever love an ox.”  Ox replies: “Dear Gazelle, I know you couldn’t. But I think that you’ve admitted one of your faults. It makes me love you even more. XO, Ox.” The muted illustrations in tones of pink, brown and green convey the haughty Gazelle and the sweet Ox perfectly.  In the end Gazelle rips Ox’s picture in frustration, but the final page show that she has taped it together and hung it on the wall as she is show writing “Dear Ox…”  This is a story about how kindness, respect  and love can sometimes melt the coldest heart.  

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This would be  a nice addition to a Valentine’s Day story time.  

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture Books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review: 4/18/17             

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