22098550by Sara Pennypacker
Children’s Lit
5 of 5 stars

This was a serendipitous find! From the cover to the contents this little story is beautiful. I read it in 24 hours and immediately went back to the store for a copy to send my foxy friend Janella!

While on the surface this is a typical children’s story about a boy and his pet (a fox instead of a dog), this has so much more to it. This is about a boy searching for his emerging identity when his only role model is a distant, angry father. It’s about a woman reclaiming what she lost from serving at the war front. It’s about a fox being in the wild world for the first time and learning how to survive. It’s about what makes us human and what makes us monsters.

When Peter’s father enlists in the army, he sends Peter to live with his grandfather in the country. On the way, Peter is forced to abandon Pax in the woods. Peter knows it’s wrong–and when he reaches his grandfather’s house, his immediate plan is to run away and rejoin Pax no matter what. They’re only a few hundred miles apart…

Pax doesn’t know why his boy left him in the woods, but he resolves to wait for Peter to come back. But approaching armies are encroaching on his safe space, and he won’t be able to wait forever…

The descriptions of the world seen through an innocent fox’s eyes and a young boy’s growing understanding are beautifully heartbreaking. I cried so much reading this book (which I never do) and I can’t recommend it enough as a middle-grade read with more substance than you’d expect.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Pax is available on Goodreads and on Barnes & Noble’s website here. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • Lassie Come Home by Eric Knight – The classic story of a boy and his dog. When the family must sell Lassie she leaves her new owner repeatedly to return to Joe. But then she’s sent to a remote corner of Scotland, and her bond with Joe is tested to the utmost as she attempts a final, thousand-mile journey home. I loved this book as a kid, probably read it three times. It’s so sweet!
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupery – A stranded pilot encounters a little prince from space who comes to learn about life on Earth. This short book is incredible and enduring. See my review here.
  • Pegasus by Robin McKinley – A lengthy novel detailing two cultures that attempt to live symbiotically despite their near inability to communicate. Twelve-year-old princess Sylvi is more than ready to bond with her ceremonial pegasus. She knows that only with the help of translators will she and her pegasus be able to communicate and guide their nations together in peace. But Sylvi and Ebon can talk easily on their own, and it leads them both to wonder what other secrets lie between their nations and what it means for their alliance. In typical McKinley fashion there is intense world-building and subtle character development, but this is an immersive story that gets very enjoyable about 1/3 of the way through.
  • The Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl – I confess I haven’t read this yet but I loved the movie (I know, I know). A clever fox must save his family from vindictive farmers with his most daring (perhaps fantastic?) plan yet.
  • The 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith – The classic tale of a young London couple with two dalmatians, who then have 15 puppies coveted by a crazy lady obsessed with furs. Everyone knows the movie but this story is so much cuter in the original version! The descriptions are charming and there is more characterization.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. janellaa
    May 06, 2016 @ 13:57:34

    FOXY FRIENDS FOREVER ❤ ❤ ❤ Thank you SO much for this wonderful gift! This is on my TBR for when I this round of revisions and has been a great incentive to writewritewrite 😉

    Liked by 1 person


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