PAX by Sara Pennypacker
Kirkus Star

PAX

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 9 - 13
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A motherless boy is forced to abandon his domesticated fox when his father decides to join soldiers in an approaching war.

Twelve-year-old Peter found his loyal companion, Pax, as an orphaned kit while still grieving his own mother’s death. Peter’s difficult and often harsh father said he could keep the fox “for now” but five years later insists the boy leave Pax by the road when he takes Peter to his grandfather’s house, hundreds of miles away. Peter’s journey back to Pax and Pax’s steadfastness in waiting for Peter’s return result in a tale of survival, intrinsic connection, and redemption. The battles between warring humans in the unnamed conflict remain remote, but the oncoming wave of deaths is seen through Pax’s eyes as woodland creatures are blown up by mines. While Pax learns to negotiate the complications of surviving in the wild and relating to other foxes, Peter breaks his foot and must learn to trust a seemingly eccentric woman named Vola who battles her own ghosts of war. Alternating chapters from the perspectives of boy and fox are perfectly paced and complementary. Only Peter, Pax, Vola, and three of Pax’s fox companions are named, conferring a spare, fablelike quality. Every moment in the graceful, fluid narrative is believable. Klassen’s cover art has a sense of contained, powerful stillness. (Interior illustrations not seen.)

Moving and poetic. (Animal fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-237701-2
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2015




BEST MIDDLE-GRADE MYSTERY & ADVENTURE STORIES OF 2016:

ChildrenTHE GIRL IN THE WELL IS ME by Karen Rivers
by Karen Rivers
ChildrenDIVE! by Deborah Hopkinson
by Deborah Hopkinson
ChildrenSOME KIND OF COURAGE by Dan Gemeinhart
by Dan Gemeinhart

OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for LITTLE LEGENDS
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for THE COOL BEAN
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for THE SERIOUS GOOSE
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for THE RISE OF MAGICKS
VERDICT:
BUY IT

MORE BY SARA PENNYPACKER

ChildrenHERE IN THE REAL WORLD by Sara Pennypacker
by Sara Pennypacker
ChildrenEVEN MORE AWESOME by Sara Pennypacker
by Sara Pennypacker
ChildrenSUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS by Sara Pennypacker
by Sara Pennypacker

MORE BY JON KLASSEN

ChildrenSQUARE by Mac Barnett
by Mac Barnett
ChildrenTHE WOLF, THE DUCK, AND THE MOUSE by Mac Barnett
by Mac Barnett

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenDUKE by Kirby Larson
by Kirby Larson
IndieThe Cave of Healing by William Haponski
by William Haponski
ChildrenSHADOW by Michael Morpurgo
by Michael Morpurgo