I read a paperback edition of Pax.
Genre: Children’s fiction, middle-grade fiction.
Illustrated by: Jon Klassen
Originally published: February 2nd, 2016
Pages: 288 (paperback)
Audiobook length: 5 hrs and 32 mins
Synopsis by the publisher:
Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.
At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.
Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own.
I randomly came across Pax while browsing a Norwegian bookstore and it was cover love at first sight! So much so that I decided to buy the book before I even read the synopsis. When I did read the back, I was even more sure that it would be a good match.
I love when authors write stories from the perspective of animals. Giving the animals a voice of their own adds a whole other depth to a story. I find that it’s even more enjoyable when we get to shift between the perspectives of humans and animals so that we get to experience certain events in two (or more) different ways. Pennypacker did a really good job with that throughout this book.
Pax isn’t just a story about a strong bond between a fox and a boy, but it also tells a story of grief and war. As far as I could tell, which war this story is set in isn’t mentioned, but I got the feeling it was probably World War II. Not knowing doesn’t take away from the story at all though since the focus isn’t on the war itself, but more the experiences of growing up during one.
The illustrations throughout this book are absolutely stunning! I wouldn’t have minded if there’d had been more of them, but hey, quality over quantity!
A big round of applause for Jon Klassen!
Both Peter and Pax develops quite a lot as characters during the short amount of time that we get to spend with them, and I loved being able to join them on that journey.
How about the ending?
I loved the way that it ended, even though it might not have been the ending that I was expecting or hoping for. But I thought it was the right way to end the story.
This story also had me crying a little bit, which doesn’t happen all too often these days! So extra points for having me so engaged in the story!
All that being said, I wish it would’ve been a little longer though. I felt like there was more to this story, but I also understand that even though I enjoyed it as an adult, it was written for a much younger audience so having it be 350+ pages long might not have been the right choice for this particular book.
I highly recommend Pax to readers who loved Watership Down, Charlotte’s Web, or any other story of hardship and struggle that are told through the perspectives of animals. It’s written beautifully and it tells a really heartbreaking but also heartwarming story that is just as enjoyable for adults as for kids.
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