Sara Pennypacker




Date Reviewed:

April 5, 2022

ax is a children's book about a pet fox named Pax and his twelve year old owner, a boy named Peter. At the beginning, Peter and his father are driving to grandfather's house. Part-way to the destination, they stop the car and let Pax out. Peter throws a toy for Pax to fetch - but then Peter and father get back in the car, leaving Pax abandoned in the wilderness. This, of course, is a horrible thing to do, because animals raised as pets do not have the survival skills to live in the wild. Pax spends days waiting by the road, loyally waiting for Peter to return.

At his grandfather's house, Peter decides he was wrong to abandon Pax to the wilderness. So with a day's worth of food in his pack, Peter decides to hike back to the abandonment point and rescue Pax. Peter promptly breaks his ankle and ends up on a farm with a war veteran who lost her leg in some previous conflict. Important LIFE LESSONS are learned here. Tears are predictably shed, but there is character growth.

I don't know why, but I never fell in love Peter or Pax. Despite all the scenes in the narrative that are supposed to show how loyal and resilient both Peter and Pax are too each other, it just never seemed convincing to me. A twelve year old boy is going to march 300 miles through a forested war zone to rescue his fox? For some reason, the narrative struck me as too contrived, the scenes were all deliberately constructed for emotional appeal rather than to actually tell a convincing story.

Do land mines have electrical wire? I thought that they were pressure sensitive. The animals in this book suffer grievously from land-mines planted by the soldiers.

I got Pax out of the library because it is illustrated by Jon Klassen, and I wanted to see his artwork. The interior drawings are disappointing, it doesn't look as if Klassen spent as much effort on these illustrations as he did on the Skunk and Badger book. I don't think Peter is even shown once, and Pax has one drawing.

There are much better children's books out there. I don't recommend this one.