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Pax Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 2, 2016

4.7 out of 5 stars 8,936 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

“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

“Both boy and fox experience the kindness of others even with the backdrop of imminent war.” Recommended 2016 Holiday Gift for Tween Readers -- Brightly

“A book that is as much about dealing with loss as it is about how people change and affect the world around them.”An Entertainment Weekly Best Middle Grade Book of 2016 -- Entertainment Weekly

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Balzer + Bray; 1st edition (February 2, 2016)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0062377019
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0062377012
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 8 - 12 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 760L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 3 - 7
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 1.05 x 7.75 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 8,936 ratings

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Sara Pennypacker was a painter before becoming a writer, and has two absolutely fabulous children who are now grown. She has written over twenty children's books including Pax (illustrated by Jon Klassen), Here In The Real World, the Clementine and Waylan series (both illustrated by Marla Frazee); Stuart's Cape and Stuart Goes to School (both illustrated by Martin Matje), Meet the Dullards, and others. Sara splits her time between Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Florida.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
8,936 global ratings

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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
By Pav on December 18, 2016
Bought it for my 10 yr old. Both me and my son loved the book a lot. Fantastic narration about relationships, courage, kindness. I loved the interaction between Vola and Peter. The characters inspired each other. And Pax was awesome too.. I had great time explaining some great literature like "Two but not Two" to my son. My son picked this as his school reading project and made a gift and greeting card for Peter to cheer him up!!
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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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C.W.
4.0 out of 5 stars Personal forgiveness
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 11, 2020
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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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Tor
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 2, 2017
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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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