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Pax Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 2, 2016
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From School Library Journal
“Moving and poetic.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Pennypacker’s expert, evenhanded storytelling reveals stunning depth in a relatively small package.” (Booklist (starred review))
“In an exceptionally powerful, if grim story, Pennypacker does a remarkable job of conveying the gritty perspective of a sheltered animal that must instantly learn to live in the wild.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“A startling work of fiction that should be read-and discussed-by children and adults alike.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“An emotional, thought-provoking story of conflict, loyalty, and love.” (The Horn Book)
“Sometimes an author steps aside from a popular series to break new ground, as evidenced in this arresting novel, at once a wilderness adventure about survival and a philosophical foray into big questions.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Pennypacker’s elegant language and insight into human nature spin a fable extolling empathy above all. By the novel’s poignant ending, Pennypacker has gently made the case that all of us should aspire to that view—children and adults alike.” (Time magazine)
“Searingly honest and heartbreakingly lovely, Pax is, quite simply, a masterpiece.” (Katherine Applegate, Newbery Award-winning author of The One and Only Ivan)
“A sweeping and enchanting wartime story of trust, loyalty, betrayal, and the love of a boy for the fox he’s raised since he was a kit. A master storyteller, Pennypacker leads the reader along a path of shifting hopes to the story’s heart-wrenching conclusion.” (Ann M. Martin, Newbery Honoree, author of Rain Reign)
“Pax is set in an unspecified time and place so that the details of the war are unimportant. What is prime is the graceful but haunting story of boy and fox—their relationship set against man-made chaos.” (Columbus Dispatch)
Top Customer Reviews
Set in an unidentified country during an unspecified time, “Pax” serves to remind readers that war and destruction may affect anyone – or anything. Twelve-year old Peter has cared for his pet fox, “Pax”, for five years. Orphaned as a kit, “Pax” is now as domesticated as any wild animal can be; he has never had to survive in the wild. “…distrust is no match for kindness administered consistently and unmeasured …”
Having enlisted in the army, Peter’s father takes his son to live with his grandfather and demands that Peter release “Pax” back into the wild. Knowing Peter would not abandon him “Pax” waits patiently for his return. “…Pax would stay …ignore all temptations …until his boy came for him …” Haunted by his belief he has betrayed “Pax”, Peter leaves his grandfather’s home to recover his pet. A broken leg, an encounter with an amputee-veteran whose unnamed war occurred twenty years previously, and a realization – by both Peter and “Pax” – that each must be true to his own nature creates an emotional, poignant story that will touch your heart.
Writing in the third person voice, Sara Pennypacker alternates the focus of “Pax” between developments affecting Peter and those in which “Pax” learns what it is to be a fox. Each chapter remains true to the focal character. In Peter’s, the reader learns about his life and his past.Read more ›
I couldn't stop reading this book and I was so nervous during Pax's chapters. (I was very worried that he would get hurt or killed, and I can deal with the death of fictional people so much easier than I can deal with the death of fictional animals.)
I won't tell you how many times I cried during this book or how long it took me to stop crying at the end, but it's all so worth it. Get this book and share it with everyone you know.
Pax and Peter are friends since the day when the fox was young, but suddenly bad days are coming and they need to separate - Peter's dad enlists in the military and boy needs to return his friend to the wild. Now, separated by huge distance, both Peter and Pax are feeling miserable and though the dangers of war are all around, Peter decides to embark on the journey to reunite with his only true friend…
Sara Pennypacker, known for his “Clementine” series and “Meet the Dullards”, with her latest book delivers a profound and emotional read for younger school children which manages to keep attention through all of his 300 pages. It is a story of friendship, kindness, sacrifice, a wonderful message how important are friends in our lives.
Speaking about the artwork, Jon Klassen again produced beautiful illustrations characterized by appealing, though not so usually encountered, use of black and white that makes this book equally enjoyable to read and look.
Therefore, “Pax” with its beautiful story and remarkable artwork is work worth of recommendation – a book that would inspire children with its profound lesson.
The story takes place during a nameless war, perhaps to square itself within the "new realism" genre. In this choice, Pennypacker offers a view of humans that is sometimes simplistic and heavy-handed ("You humans. You ruin everything"). We humans have indeed reaped what we have sown--an environment that largely deserts respect for the natural world--yet humans are much more than violent and destructive creatures. When a book sweeps me away I'll read it from cover-to-cover, yet I often felt reluctant to pick up Pax again because it felt more like an agenda.
That being said, there were aspects of Pax I found beautiful, such as the imagination it took to render a wild being both through its behaviors and inner life (I'm a wildlife biologist). The scenes dealing with the evolution of the relationship between Peter and Vola, and Peter's grief, were also genuine and heartbreaking: "My mother loved that. She said it [the story of the phoenix] meant that no matter how bad things got, we could always make ourselves new again". The illustrations by Jon Klassen are lovely additions to the text.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book wrecked me in the best way. Such a great read but prepare to shed a few tears. The book says 8 - 12 but I would aim toward 11 and 12, not that there is anything... Read morePublished 8 hours ago by inkycloak
Beautiful, honest, heartwrenching, strong characterization & setting, all come together in a meaningful story.Published 9 hours ago by BookWren
"The scent is my boy's. Have you seen him? Pax shared the most important features of his human--the naked round ears; the towering legs, so improbably long that Pax always... Read morePublished 21 hours ago by Ashlley
We were expecting more of a picture book for a young child. This work would be more appropriate for young adults and teen-agers.Published 1 day ago by User #17
I'm usually not into dog books and I'm ambivalent about most YA fiction (this one is rated 10-14 years). Read morePublished 1 day ago by D. Taylor
My son is 11 years old and I rarely get to read to him any more. This was the last read aloud of fifth grade for us and I loved it. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Kelly Matthews