Title: XO OX: A Love Story

Author: Adam Rex

Illustrator: Scott Campbell

Publisher: New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2017

Genre: Picture book, fiction

Audience Age: 3 to 8 years

Themes/topics: Love, letters, misunderstandings, changes of heart

Opening Sentences: Dear Gazelle, For some time now I have wanted to write a letter to say how much I admire you. You are so graceful and fine. … … I think that what I am trying to say is that I love you. XO, OX

Synopsis: This was FUN (although I felt bad for Ox.) Ox is horns over hooves in love with Gazelle, and writes her to declare his love. He receives a form letter saying “Dear    OX   , Thank you for your letter. I hope you understand that I have many admirers and cannot reply to each one personally. Please enjoy the signed photo of me that I have enclosed for your collection. Au revoir, Gazelle.”

Ox either doesn’t get it or is willfully blind to the truth, because he thinks that he DID receive a personal letter, unlike all the other admirers, and writes back. The correspondence goes on, with Gazelle being ever more vehement about her distaste for oxen, and Ox interpreting her letters to suit himself. It’s hard to see how there could possibly be a happy ending to this ill-fated correspondence.

Activities/Resources: Adam Rex’s website is here and Scott Campbell’s is here. You can see some of Campbell’s early work on the illustrations at this page on his website.

Reviews: From Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.

Find an activity guide (if you scroll and scroll) and see a few of the spreads at the publisher’s website.

Availability: It should be readily available. Check your local (or online) indie bookstore.

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