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Pax Hardcover – Illustrated, February 2, 2016

4.6 out of 5 stars 2,155 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–7—A viscerally affecting story of war, loss, and the power of friendship. Pennypacker, author of the exuberant "Clementine" series (Disney-Hyperion) and the charmingly morbid Summer of the Gypsy Moths (HarperCollins, 2012), here displays not only her formidable writing skills and a willingness to stretch her storytelling into increasingly complex narrative forms but also her ability to tackle dark and weighty themes with sensitivity and respect for the child reader. Set in an intentionally undefined time and place that could very well be a near-future America, the novel opens with a heartbreaking scene of a tame red fox, Pax, being abandoned at the side of the road by his beloved boy, Peter. Perspectives alternate between the boy and the fox, and readers learn that a terrible war rages in this land. Peter's father is about to leave for the frontlines, and while he's away, Peter must live with his grandfather out in the country—and his father makes it clear that there is no place for Pax in Peter's temporary home. Almost as soon as he arrives at his grandfather's, Peter is overcome with guilt, and he sets off under the cover of darkness to trek the 300 miles back to his home, where he prays he'll find Pax. The loyal fox, meanwhile, must figure out how to survive in the wild—though never losing hope that his boy will return for him. As the protagonists struggle to reunite in a world in the grip of violence and destruction, they each find helpers who assist them on their respective journeys: Peter breaks his foot and is rehabilitated by Vola, a hermit suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, while Pax is taken in by a leash of foxes who teach him the basics of foraging and hunting. Pennypacker doesn't shy away from some of the more realistic aspects of war, though she keeps most of the violence slightly off-screen: in one scene, the wild foxes define war for the naive Pax as a "human sickness" that causes them to turn on their own kind, akin to rabies; later, as the battle creeps closer, several creatures are maimed and killed by land mines. Black-and-white drawings by Klassen offer a respite for readers, while adding to the haunting atmosphere.With spare, lyrical prose, Pennypacker manages to infuse this tearjerker with a tender hope, showing that peace and love can require just as much sacrifice as war. VERDICT A startling work of fiction that should be read—and discussed—by children and adults alike.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal

Review

“Pax the book is like Pax the fox: half wild and wholly beautiful.” (New York Times Book Review)

“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)

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
2,155 customer ratings
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Top international reviews

Dan Thompson
3.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to enjoy this book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 10, 2018
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Jake
5.0 out of 5 stars A heart-breakingly wonderful story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 13, 2018
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Alex Mclugash
5.0 out of 5 stars A review by Drew in year 6! (aged 10)
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 23, 2017
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Victoria
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 2, 2017
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good with reservations
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 27, 2019
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Stue1975
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book that balks at the normal happy ending...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 6, 2018
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Ms. J. Carpenter
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 9, 2019
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Sommerled
5.0 out of 5 stars Fox & friendship.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 5, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars finally
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 22, 2019
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Ell Dee
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it! In fact
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 21, 2018
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Emma Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars Fox and boy in a heart wrenching tale
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 2, 2018
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Steve143
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 24, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 16, 2019
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Dan M.
4.0 out of 5 stars Animals and friendship
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 31, 2016
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Fee
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely gift
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 16, 2018
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