Pax Paperback – 1 September 2017
Frequently bought together
‘Pax the book is like Pax the fox: half wild and wholly beautiful.’ New York Times
'A heart wrenching masterpiece about the relationship between a boy and his fox' The Guardian
'A touching story about a boy and his pet, as well as a depiction of the devastating and often unseen consequences of war' Book Trust
‘A beautifully wrought, utterly compelling novel about the powerful relationship between a boy and his fox.’ Sainsbury’s Entertainment
‘Every moment in the graceful, fluid narrative is believable … Moving and poetic.’ Kirkus
About the Author
Sara Pennypacker is the author of the award-winning, New York Times best-selling Clementine series, the novel ‘Summer of the Gypsy Moths’, and the picture books ‘Pierre in Love’, ‘Sparrow Girl’, and ‘Meet the Dullards’. She lives in the US. You can visit her online at www.sarapennypacker.com.
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- Publisher : HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks (1 September 2017)
- Language: : English
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0008158282
- ISBN-13 : 978-0008158286
- Reading age : 9 years and up
- Item Weight : 240 g
- Dimensions : 14.2 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
- Country of Origin : United Kingdom
- Customer Reviews:
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But I was expecting tears and heartache and a Homeward Bound style adventure in which we see Pax and Peter united. I got none of that. In fact, much of the book is static, staying in the same place once Peter stays with Vola - a hermit style woman ex-military living all alone.
I couldn't quite get my head around when this book was set. It is set during a war - and I couldn't get the American Civil War out of my head, but then Pennypacker mentions car radios and other modern lifestyle items which really makes that impossible.
I'm not sure if this is one of those books really aimed at Adults wrapped up in child wrapping paper. It certainly felt so.
A main concepts of the story is that war is a destructive force in terms of the physical costs, emotional trauma, and destruction of life (both human and animal). Nothing exactly groundbreaking there per se, but I think that for a children's book it is handled with care and sensitivity by Pennypacker. Now whether there is a broader moral to be drawn from here, I'm not able to discern. That may be more because of me as a reader than Pennypacker as a writer.
Another, and I would argue most important, idea of the text is that of self-forgiveness. Peter and Vola are both psychologically tormented by their own feelings of guilt, albeit from different causes. Only once the characters have learned to accept their actions and forgive themselves are they able to feel the release of the weight of guilt that was bearing down upon them and move on, positively, with their lives (this being more obvious with Vola than Peter). As a counterpoint, we see the negative effects of those who do not succeed in self-forgiveness, namely manifested in anger and isolation - Vola and Peter's father & grandfather being the prime examples.
For me, Peter's chapters feel bloated. In a more typical book, I most likely wouldn't have given the chapters a second thought. However, Pax's chapters are quite sublime, in my opinion. The imagery is excellent, and the prose is terse and crisp. Pax's story takes up probably a third or less of the space of Peter's, but it is just so much more succinct and weighty in its own way.
In the end, I would argue the final message is that although we are all connected in this great web of life, we must each do what is right by us and what is right for others even if it isn't what we would personally wish for. I feel this message is right, but for some reason it feels a little hollow in this story.