Author: Sara Pennypacker
Best for: Middle grade students (ages 10-14)
My Take: This story had me near tears the entire time (and I’m not a crier!) If you have a soft spot in your heart for animals, Pax will definitely tug at your heart-strings.
Peter, the main character, is forced to give up his pet fox, Pax, when his father heads off to war. Pax, who has been part of Peter since he found him as a kit, has to learn the ins and outs of surviving in the wild. Meanwhile, Peter, who is still reeling from his mother’s death nearly 5 years ago and his absent father, immediately feels pangs of regret and sets off in the wilderness to find his beloved fox.
I enjoyed how the chapters alternated between Peter and Pax’s point of view. Readers are able to see both characters grow and learn some tough lessons along the way. While I won’t give away the ending, I will say it was bittersweet!
Bottom Line: I’d use Pax as a whole-class or small group novel with middle schoolers, as it the themes expressed are very relatable to students in the pre-teen age group.