Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pax by Sara Pennypacker...

How I Heard About It:  I think you would have to be living under a rock to not have heard of this book.  The last few months it has been discussed all over Twitter.  I've also read advanced praise in many reviews and it was mentioned more than once during the NCTE15 weekend.  I ordered it online and the book arrived the day of its release.  This was one of those books that I was over the top excited about reading.  

What It Is About:  Peter and Pax are the best of friends.  There is one big difference between these two friends.  Peter is a young boy and Pax is a fox.  Peter has had Pax since he was a young pup and has raised him as his own.  When Peter's father must go enlist with the military to fight in a "war", he learns they must release Pax into the wild.  After a difficult "send off", Peter goes to live with his grandfather while leaving Pax to fend for himself in the wild.  Peter is happy about his new living arrangements and Pax isn't quite sure about life in the wild.  Peter decides to run away from his grandfather's home and find Pax.  While Peter is on the run, Pax is introduced to a pack of foxes that take him in and show him the ways of the wild.  Peter hurts himself while on the run and ends up living with a women for a period of time while his foot heals.  Each character longs to be with their best friend, but all the elements seem to want to keep them apart.  

What I Thought Of It:  When a story measures up to all the hype and pre-release praise, it makes me so incredibly happy.  That is exactly what happened with this story.  I loved every line, every page, every chapter.  It was a beautifully written story that had heart, content, and one of the most touching relationships between a boy and his "pet".  There was so much to this story that it is hard to describe here.  I know this novel is going to become a classic for both young and adult readers.  Absolutely one of the best middle-grade novels I've ever read.  

Who Should Read It:  If all goes according to my plan, this will be a read aloud for my current fourth grade class.  I so want to share it with them.  Actually as I typing this I'm thinking maybe a future book club selection, but it is so good  I would like to expose all of my students to it.  Fifth and sixth grade readers will find great success with reading it on their own.  A teacher of a third, fourth, fifth, or sixth grade classroom would be wise to use this as a read aloud.  Adult readers who enjoy powerful stories about animals and young children, need to put this on their to-read list.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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