Thursday, January 21, 2016
By Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Blazer + Bray an imprint of Harper Collins, 2016. Fiction. 280 p.
Pax is a fox. Peter is Pax’s boy. Peter is sent away to live with his grandfather while Peter’s father goes off to lay wire for the war effort. As a result Dad forced Peter to leave Pax in the woods so Pax won’t get “underfoot” at Grandfather’s house. Only after the fact does Peter realize that this is wrong. Pax has never lived in the wild and doesn’t know how to survive. While in the woods Pax is confussed and alone. There are many dangers and potential dangers Pax encounters while trying to decide whether he should stay and wait for his boy or go off to find him. Thus begins an incredible journey where Pax and Peter strive to find each other. The journey—like so many others tied to self-discovery and war times—is not easy. There are countless dangers (and smells that tend to distract a clever fox). Both fox and boy must discover what truth is and what it isn’t. And above all, they must work to find themselves before they can find each other.
This book is one of those books that stay with a reader—parts of it are a bit haunting. It doesn’t shy away from the effects of war, yet it isn’t so graphic that it isn’t appropriate for young readers. On the other hand, it talks a lot about discovery, trust, and truth. This is a book that will provide loads of fodder for book club discussions. It will be a good book to open discussion between grown-ups and children about tough topics and why the world isn’t always as good as it should be. This is a book to remember.