PAX by Sara Pennypacker (2016)

The fox felt the car slow before the boy did, as he felt everything first. Through the pads of his paws, along his spine, in the sensitive whiskers at his wrists. By the vibrations, he learned also that the road had grown coarser. He stretched up from his boy’s lap and sniffed at the threads of scent leaking in through the window, which told him they were now traveling into woodlands (p 1).

PAXWith his widowed father heading off to an unnamed war, Peter is forced to return his domesticated fox, Pax, to the wild and go live with his grandfather in relative safety. Still saddened by the death of his mother and now the loss of his beloved fox, Peter sets out on his own to find his companion.

Meanwhile, Pax waits steadfastly for his boy. After all, Peter saved Pax when he was just a cold and hungry kit in danger of dying. Pax is unprepared for life in the wild and dedicated to his boy. But hunger compels him and soon, he is fighting for survival and learning to live among other foxes.

Told in chapters alternating between boy and fox and set amidst a grisly conflict, both narrators must struggle, learn and begin to trust again as they search for each other.

Highly recommended for beautiful storytelling and complex themes set in a fable-like story.

The Kirkus review is spot on.

Illustrations by Jon Klassen are perfectly complimentary.

 

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