How many children have found a young, vulnerable animal in the wild and wanted to keep it as a pet? That is background to the book Pax by Sara Pennypacker. Peter finds a kit fox and takes it home. The two establish a love for one another and grow very close.
Peter and Pax have it all. Until war comes and Peter’s father must go off to the war. Now Peter must move in with his grandfather and Pax must be released back into the wild. The book follows the common storyline of the desires of both human and animal to be reunited at any and all costs. Along the way both Peter and Pax learn about themselves while meeting other characters along the way. The other characters as well as Peter and Pax all have weaknesses and flaws that are challenged and eventually laid bare throughout the story as they grow.
The book jumps chapter by chapter between the experiences of Pax and Peter as they desire to find one another. War and PTSD play a small role in the book. There is no specific war that this books is connected to; just war in general. I find the way the author twists the war, Peter’s dad, Peter, Pax, & the other characters together a bit confusing. Yet the author uses it to bring the characters to a final conclusion.
I appreciate the lack of foul language and this book is one that could be added to any of our Christian school libraries, classrooms, or homes. This book would be appropriate for students in grades 3-8 depending on their reading level. The action kept moving throughout and in my opinion, the storyline never went stagnant making the book easy to read. There are many quotable lines throughout the book, however many of them have a humanistic slant to them as would be expected. “I am exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing. That is peace.” As Christian teachers, it is at points like this in the book that we can point out to students where true peace comes from. We can show them Lord’s Day 10 and how we find peace in knowing God controls and rules over all. Many opportunities like this can be found throughout the book if reading aloud to a class.
I would highly recommend this book and since this is my first book by Pennypacker that I’ve read, I’ll look forward to looking at some of her other novels.