Author: Sara Pennypacker
Source: Waterstones – Recommendation
My favourite quote; ‘He ran as foxes are meant to run – compact body arrowing through the air at a swiftness that rippled his fur. The new job of speed, the urgency of coming night, the hope of reunion with his boy – these things transformed him into something that shot like liquid fire between the trees. Something gravity couldn’t touch. Pax could run forever.’
I knew straight away that Pax was coming home with me when I popped my head into Waterstones. There it was, sitting comfortably on the table as this week’s recommendation table. The illustration caught my eye and I was instantly drawn to it like a magnet. I needed to know why it was called ‘Pax’, I needed to know what the story was about and I needed to know the reason for the beautiful image of a fox on the front cover. I was not disappointed when I took it home and got lost in the pages.
The story is about a young boy called Peter and his tamed fox called ‘Pax’. Peter discovered Pax as the only surviving kit in a den and took him home to rescue him from certain demise. Pax was the one thing Peter needed and came to rely on when his mother died and they soon become inseparable, until his father made the decision to go to war. As Peter would be moving to live with his grandfather, his father made it evident that Pax would not be going with him.
“And that fox… well, it’s time to send him back to the wild anyway.”
I have to say, I have never been so emotionally tied into a book by the first few pages. I was already in tears by page 7, so I’m not giving anything away by saying that Pax was left by the side of the road with his favourite toy whilst Peter cried and was driven away by his father. The writing was absolutely beautiful and the author captured the emotion of the scene perfectly. I was hooked and needed to know that they were going to find each other again.
It only took me a couple of hours to get through the book, because I was desperate to find out how it ended. My heart will forever stay in this story.
Peter left his grandfather’s house the night he was left there by his father, with a rucksack full of supplies and a map memorised in his head, he was off to find his beloved companion. Unfortunately he doesn’t get far when he ends up tripping over a root and breaking his foot. This is where we get introduced to the solitary figure, Vola, a woman who lives by herself in the middle of nowhere. A friendship develops between the two of them as Vola helps Peter with his injury in return of the truth as to why he’s all alone. They form a bond that could only be described as respect for one another.
Through out the story, you get to experience both perspectives of Peter, who is desperate to find his companion but feels completely useless and distressed with his broken foot, and of Pax as he discovers what it’s like to live in the wild with unfamiliar scents and sounds, a different environment, learning how to hunt, where to sleep, and simply how to survive. A marvellously charming writing style that really sets the scene for both Peter and Pax and their personal journey to each other.
I have to say, the only downside I found was the ending. Pax spent the entire story looking for ‘his boy’ and the one time you want to hear his thoughts, it’s not there. The story ends without know how Pax feels and it’s utterly heartbreaking for the reader. Whether this was deliberate or not, I feel just one more page would have completed the story perfectly, but it was left for the reader’s own interpretation to the ending.
Pax was only a kit when his family was killed, and “his boy” Peter rescued him from abandonment and certain death. Now the war front approaches, and when Peter’s father enlists, Peter has to move in with his grandpa. Far worse than being forced to leave home is the fact that Pax can’t go. Peter listens to his stern father—as he usually does—and throws Pax’s favorite toy soldier into the woods. When the fox runs to retrieve it, Peter and his dad get back in the car and leave him there—alone. But before Peter makes it through even one night under his grandfather’s roof, regret and duty spur him to action; he packs for a trek to get his best friend back and sneaks into the night. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their independent struggles to return to one another against all odds. Told from the alternating viewpoints of Peter and Pax.