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Pax

posted by: March 24, 2016 - 7:00am

Cover art for PaxPax, a new book by award-winning author Sara Pennypacker, will linger with readers long after they finish the final page. The story is told alternately by a young orphaned fox named Pax, and Peter, the boy who saved him. Peter found Pax shortly after his own mother died, and his father grudgingly let him keep the fox “for now.”

 

“For now” turned into five years. Pax becomes Peter’s family since his father is usually gone and is emotionally distant even when he is home. Now war threatens their home, and Peter’s father announces he is leaving to join the fight. Peter must stay with his formidable grandfather, a man who doesn’t approve of tame foxes. Peter is forced to abandon the now-domesticated Pax who lives off kibble, in the wilderness. The moment the boy leaves his fox behind, he knows he has made a terrible mistake.

 

While stories about lost pets are familiar to us, this one is unique. The journey that Pax and Peter take in order to find each other tests both, and they meet new characters who change them and us forever. As they come to understand difficult truths about the world, so do readers.

 

Pennypacker doesn’t offer a specific setting, just a land being destroyed by war. The conflict, which is never really clearly explained to readers either, affects not only the people, but also the land and the creatures. The story isn’t a simple protest against war, but a plea for people to be honest about the real price of conflict.

 

Pennypacker’s writing is beautiful. With clarity and compassion one doesn’t often find in children’s books, she addresses complicated themes like loneliness, love and the cost of war.

 

The art for this book is created by Caldecott award-winning illustrator Jon Klassen and perfectly matches the story in its simple, poignant style.

 

Pax is great for readers who enjoyed Sheila Burnford’s classic The Incredible Journey. Fans of these great animal stories will also enjoy Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt.


 
 

Thanks for reviewing this title, Megan!



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Revised: March 24, 2016