Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Upper Elementary/Middle School and up

277 pgs.


Should adults stop talking sometimes and allow children to connect with an animal instead? Peter’s father has his own load of trouble, and anger is one of them.  Things get better when “one little ball of gray fur still warm and breathing” – an abandoned fox kit,  is found by Peter and adopted into the family.

War is encroaching, and Peter’s father signs up to “lay wires”.  The enigma behind this is that no time or place is mentioned, and yet there is a strange home-feel about this war.

This is a great story with a good plot told from Peter and the fox’s separate points of view. The ending does not disappoint either.  One picks up some valuable worldly wisdom along the way, often spoken by Vola who lives alone. “People,” she says, “should tell the truth about what war costs. That’s taken me a long time to figure out.” This is probably what drives the novel and makes it an important book.

I’m not giving any of this story away.  Read it, please.