Book Reviews, YA Book Club for Writers

Book Club Review: Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Illustrated by Jon Klassen.

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . . .

Our thoughts about this book:

Overall our group seemed to like this book. It’s well written, almost poetic. It made a great book for conversation.

And conversation started with the cover. Pax has a beautiful cover and book design. Some wondered whether Peter should have been included the cover also, as he is the other half of the story. But the drawing and design and illustrations inside the book are beautiful.

Being told from two points of view, Pax the fox and Peter the boy, gave for some great insight about our readers, as some members preferred the fox’s story, while others preferred Peter’s story.

The favourite character for most, if not all, of us was actually a secondary character, a hermit lady named Vola. She takes Peter in when he is injured and they end up helping each other. Her character development was well done, she was unique and intriguing.

Each story tends to mirror the other. While Pax is learning from the other foxes, Peter is learning from Vola. And the author had to be quite considerate of the backstory and who best delivered information to the reader, Pax or Peter.

One thing we kept coming back to was the maturity of the story and characters. We liked Peter’s maturity, rarely seen in a middle grade book. However, the story offers undertones of mature themes (war, death of a parent, humanity’s disregard for nature) that it would be best recommended to older middle graders, aged 10+ for understanding. Some of the concepts were vague and we felt required some life experience to understand. We agreed this was a book to be read more than once, at different times in life, as the story would be understood a bit differently to a 10-year-old, as it would to a 15-year-old, and then again as an (*ahem*) older adult. For teachers, this book would create many areas of discussion points and would be well-suited to a grade five or six classroom.

We do recommend this book.


This is an unsolicited review. I purchased my copy for Kindle at

  • Publisher : Balzer + Bray; Illustrated edition (April 2 2019)
  • Paperback : 304 pages
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0062377029

1 thought on “Book Club Review: Pax by Sara Pennypacker”

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