Monday, July 18, 2016

Pax by Sara Pennypacker, Jon Klassen

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.
When I first saw this book advertised, I did an anticipation-dance while drooling over that cover. You know me... At the sight of foxes I collapse and melt into a mush ball of Awww. 
By all means it is no average children's box. It is harsh, dark and real. A heavy story that easily brings you to tears. It has war, and nature, and violence, and death, and love, and duty, and loyalty and sacrifice. It is everything. What I'm saying is: I went into Pax expecting to have my heart ripped out. In fact, I wanted it. As soon as I heard this was a moving story about a boy and his pet fox, my tear ducts got ready for action. But, unfortunately, it just missed the mark for me.
I believe it was the ending that took the breath out of it. It definitely wasn't what I wanted to happen, still it didn't rob the book it anyway. Some scenes are graphic which will make animal lovers cringe but I like that the author was brutally honest in the effects of war. My only complaint is that the ending was rather abrupt, realistic but abrupt.
Other than that... Excellence!