STARRED REVIEW
February 2016

A moving tale of friends in war-torn times

By Jon Klassen & Sara Pennypacker
Sara Pennypacker, author of the light-hearted Clementine series, proves with her new novel that she’s capable of writing stories with more heft and just as much heart.
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Sara Pennypacker, author of the light-hearted Clementine series, proves with her new novel that she’s capable of writing stories with more heft and just as much heart. 

Peter and his fox, Pax, have been close companions for five years. After his mother’s death, Peter adopted Pax as a kit, and caring for his fox has offered a kind of healing. As Peter’s father prepares to fight an unnamed war, Peter is sent to live with his grandfather, and Pax is forced to return to a wild he’s never really known. Pax has never slept outdoors nor eaten raw meat, so he must rely on new acquaintances, although the scent of human on his fur makes it hard for other foxes to trust him.

As for Peter, he almost immediately regrets leaving Pax and sets off on foot to find his friend. But when injuries waylay him and he’s taken in by an eccentric woman with her own battle scars, Peter begins to recognize that his relationships with his father and Pax might never be the same.

As much a powerful tale of the costs of war as it is a story of boy and dog (or fox), Pax offers insights into the toll that violence takes on humans and animals alike. Told in well-paced short chapters alternating between Pax and Peter’s points of view, Pennypacker’s simply told but thematically rich story, punctuated with black-and-white drawings from Caldecott winner Jon Klassen, steadily builds toward a thoughtful conclusion.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Pax

Pax

By Jon Klassen & Sara Pennypacker
Balzer + Bray
ISBN 9780062377012

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