Pax by Sara Pennypacker [in School Library Journal]
Somewhere close, sometime soon, war is coming. Twelve-year-old Peter and his fox, Pax, are forced apart by a father whose noble intentions have devastating results.
When Peter’s father enlists in the military, he pressures Peter to return Pax to the wild, while Peter is sent 300 miles away to live with his grandfather. Almost immediately, Peter realizes his grave mistake and knows he must get home to Pax. Both boy and fox rely on the kindness of strangers to survive: for Peter, an acerbic veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder; for Pax, a pair of orphan siblings.
Sara Pennypacker creates a viscerally affecting story of the impossible nature of war – “Do you think anyone in the history of this world ever set out to fight for the wrong side?” – and the inescapable consequences that befall the youngest and smallest in the wake of death and destruction. The simple title, beyond the name, proves to be an undeniable prayer for peace.
Michael Curran-Dorsano’s gentle narration, infused with just the right emotional vibrato, magnifies Pennypacker’s extraordinary tale with immediacy and impact. A must-have for all libraries serving middle-grade students.
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult