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by Sara Pennypacker

Published by Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins, 2016
288 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-237701-2

Ages 8-11

Lonely Peterís only friend is Pax, the fox he found as an orphaned pup and raised. And Pax, who has never really known the wild world, is completely dependent on Peter. The two are separated when Peterís dad, about to join the war, takes him to live with his grandfather miles away. Pax, abandoned on the side of the road, has to survive on his own. Peter runs away from his grandfatherís house, determined to find Pax, but an accident lays him up in the home of Vola, a reclusive veteran. Impatient to be on his way, Peter must instead take time to heal. The more time he spends with Vola, the more he sees she is struggling to make peace with all sheís seen and done as a soldier. Meanwhile Pax gradually bonds with other foxes, but never gives up hope or intention of finding his boy. Two survival stories, told from Paxís and Peterís alternating points of view, are set against the backdrop of a near-future second U.S. civil war (likely over water rights). The tense and moving novel is an exquisite exploration of connectedness Ė among humans and nature Ė as well as a heartrending look at the impact of war on people, animals, and the earth itself. It will grab readers from its opening paragraphs and hold them in a spell until a bittersweet but triumphant ending. Jon Klassenís muted, elegant illustrations add to the physical beauty of the singular book.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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