Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Pax (Pax #1)” as Want to Read:
Pax (Pax #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Pax #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  48,294 ratings  ·  5,620 reviews
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 so ...more
Hardcover, Deckle Edge, 224 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Balzer + Bray
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Pax, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Rebecca There is some mature content (violence, death) and vocabulary but if an adult & child are reading it together, I'd agree with the 8-12 recommendation.…moreThere is some mature content (violence, death) and vocabulary but if an adult & child are reading it together, I'd agree with the 8-12 recommendation. I'm reading it with a second grader and we're taking time to discuss the complexities and to talk about the harrowing parts of the drama. As a librarian and parent, I'll recommend it to adults's a beautiful story.(less)
Megan In this scene, Pax is watching bluejays fly in the sky. The electric-blue wedge is the bird, which he's looking for one last time before he moves away…moreIn this scene, Pax is watching bluejays fly in the sky. The electric-blue wedge is the bird, which he's looking for one last time before he moves away.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  48,294 ratings  ·  5,620 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Pax (Pax #1)
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best middle grade and children's category 2016!

when i first saw this book advertised at BEA, i did an anticipation-dance while drooling over that cover. it was a very messy dance, like a drunken sprinkler, and i guess it dizzied me into thinking this was a picture book. i couldn't wait to get my hands on it, and the day it came out i barreled straight over to the kids department and after rerouting myself from the picture book section, i grabbed a copy
Emily May
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens, 2016
2 1/2 stars.

My ultimate weakness is animal stories.

I'm not much of a book crier, to be honest. If you pack the emotional punches in a non-manipulative way, then you might get a sniffle or a watery sheen over my eyes. But if you want to make me sob, go for the animals. Especially animals that look like this:

Yes, I'm shallow like that. I still think this is the saddest, most awful thing I've ever seen in a movie/book/tv show.

What I'm saying is: I went into Pax expecting to have my heart ripped ou
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Pax is a story about the separation of a young boy named Peter and his pet fox, Pax. As a baby, Pax’s parents were killed and he was taken in by Peter. Peter raised him and gave him the care that he needed to grow; he was devoted to Pax and they developed a powerful relationship.

Then the unexpected happens: war is on the horizon and Peter’s dad tells him Pax must go back to the wild. Peter will be forced to stay with his grandfather, miles from Pax. It’s heartbreaking for Peter to be separated f
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Twelve-year-old Peter's greatest companion is his fox, Pax. When they are divided by necessity in preparation for impending war, Peter's need for his fox and his regret over the way they were separated is so great that he embarks on a difficult journey to be reunited with Pax. Meanwhile, Pax must learn to fend for himself in the wild, a new and foreign terrain he's entirely unfamiliar with. The destruction
Charlotte May

“The plain truth can be the hardest thing to see when it’s about yourself. If you don’t want to know the truth, you’ll do anything to disguise it.”

3.5 stars ⭐️

This was a really sweet book. Peter and Pax have been best friends since Peter saved Pax as a cub. When the war strikes and Peter’s dad enlists, he is sent to live with his grandfather, but Pax can’t come. He is abandoned on the side of the road, his favourite toy thrown into the woods, in the hope he will follow it in.
However, Peter i
Kayla Dawn
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
A beautiful book, especially the illustrations were awesome. I absolutely adored the style and they helped building the atmosphere a lot.

*potential spoiler ahead*

I definitely get why some people are disappointed by that ending but I actually felt like it was the right thing to do.
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book. Oh my. This story broke my heart and then healed it too. A beautiful beautiful story.
H.L. Burke
Jun 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book started out with a lot of promise to me. I had been eyeing it on the self of my local library for a long time, but finally decided to pick it up this last week because that is a beautiful cover, and the first chapter is beautifully written. I'd say any time we are in the fox's POV it is beautifully written, honestly, and there are places in the boy's POV that are good too ... but the further I got into this story the more frustrated I got. The message is pretty heavy handed, and it's n ...more
Brandy Painter
Jan 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
2.5 stars

Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

I was really hoping that 2016 would be different than 2015 when it came to me and super hyped beloved by the kidlit powers that be MG books. If Pax by Sara Pennypacker is any indication, I'm still going to be one of the minority dissenters. So be it. Honestly, I could write an entire post about the sort of books that get the most attention and promotion from said powers and what that says about the priorities of the kidlit elite,
Lauren Danton
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
All the feels! All of them!
I haven't loved a kids book the way I love Pax in a very long time. Brought me back to watching (and sobbing through) Homeward Bound as a kid.
This journey is told through the eyes of Pax and his human, Peter, as they go through feats to find one another.
This story is simple and complex all at once and has deeper issues than just finding a beloved pet. It will appeal to kids and satisfy adults as well.
I wanted to read this book because I have always had a fondness for foxes. Another beautifully written book for young adults. It is all about the bond between a boy Peter and his pet fox.
Susan Kennedy
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
What a great story about a boy and his fox. Pax was taken in as a kit by his boy. After five years his father makes him leave the fox in the woods saying it is because of the war. His heart is broken and this book is about both their journeys. You alternate between the story of the fox and the story of the boy. It is a very heartfelt story that I didn't want to stop. Beautifully written and full of emotion, the characters were wonderful and you rooted them on. This is a pretty short read and I w ...more
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not really sure how I feel. On the one hand, this is a beautifully written, beautifully illustrated, book.

On the other hand, who is it for?

It's violent in places, even gross, with animals being killed and having body parts blown off. Because it's about war, and the horrors of war, but war that takes place . . . where? And when? So in a way it's sort of a fairy tale, or cautionary tale. But my kids had trouble following it because they were trying to figure out: is this WWII? Is this now, in th
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
That's all it was. Just okay. There was no sadness or great plot between Pax and Peter that I could be awed or shed a sweet tear about. There was talk of a war but I kept wondering what country or timeline this was supposed to be. I guess the story was so bleh it wouldn't have made a difference. It was nice to learn how foxes communicate and someone getting them as kits could train them to be tame like dogs.

When I realized I didn't like it much I started skimming and then tried to read it as a y
Feb 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Boy meets fox, enter war, lives change

Peter's best friend is a pet fox named Pax. Suddenly, Peter's dad forces Peter to free the fox at the end of a dirt road and drops him at his grandfather's house. The bulk of the stories goes back and forth between Peter and Pax's perspectives as they try to piece together life without each other and desperately try to reunite. Will the introduction of war keep them apart?

A nice story of a boy and his best animal friend. My heart warmed thinking of my littl
Aja: The Narcoleptic Ninja
I haven’t written a review about this book yet because I don’t really have anything to say about it. Overall, it was just kind of… meh. It’s disappointing because I expected to like this book or at least be affected by it in some way, but the truth is it didn’t tug at the heartstrings, it didn’t make me cry, and it didn’t really make me react at all.

The book gets kind of repetitive early on. It switches between Peter’s perspective and Pax’s and all the chapters are fairly similar: Peter is toil
Oct 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book for review, and then proceeded to read the entire book in one sitting. This is one of the most remarkable books, let alone middle-grade reader books, that I've read in a very long time. Pennypacker's prose is crystalline, surprising, and utterly lovely as she bounds from Pax's perspective to Peter's, and back again. I so appreciate that even though this book is "for younger reader's," she doesn't condescend to them in the slightest; she raised the ...more
Chihoe Ho
Nov 23, 2015 rated it liked it
With the seemingly universal love for Pax, I feel like I'll be left out to the coyotes with the rating I'm giving it. I was left underwhelmed by the book in general – it seemed to stall at very specific points, both in the plot and setting, and while it hit the sentimental notes of the bonds between man and furry friend, I was left wanting more of an emotional punch to the gut. The narrative voice which switched back and forth between Peter the boy and Pax the fox made for some compelling and ch ...more
Claude's Bookzone
CW: (view spoiler)

Well that ending was too abrupt!

I needed more closure on the following questions:
(view spoiler)

Aside from that it was a lovely story about found family.
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being an individual that is rather fond of foxes, I was excited but also apprehensive about reading this book. It was again, initially the beautifully illustrated cover, that attracted me to this book. And throughout the book, there are more of these gorgeous illustrations for us to feast our eyes on.
The story didn't disappoint. It was a story about a boy and his fox. The boy and his fox( Pax) were then split up, and we then experience the journeys that they face, in order to be reunited again.
Melanie  Brinkman
"What do you suppose that makes you? Wild or tame?"

After Peter rescues Pax from certain death, the two become inseparable. But one day the unimaginable happens: Peter's father joins the military, forcing him to return the fox to the wild.

Three hundred miles away, Peter's heart is heavy with guilt. He's desperate to get back to Pax.

Meanwhile, Pax waits for his boy, indulging in discoveries and adventures all his own.

Can the two find their way back to each other? Or do to many obstacles lie in the
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
*Based on a reading of an ARC

Let's make 2016, the year of the fox.

I really like the book, it actually reminded me of Pixar’s animations which cater to young and old.

We don’t know the time or place where this story takes place and that seems to be intentional since war affects us all, human and non-humans no matter the age, sex or which part of the world they reside. The concept itself is not new, but it’s beautifully written and uses the parallel narratives of a 12 years-old boy name Peter and
The best book I have read in a long, long time. I'll write a review once I finish putting my heart back together. Hoo boy.

Wild and tame, war and peace, anger and love--Pax is a beautiful meditation, almost fable-like, on these interconnected themes. No word is wasted or wanting in the luminous tale of Peter and his fox, Pax and and their converging journeys. Pennypacker masterfully creates emotions that are palpable, like the tension of the father’s simmering anger or Peter’s overwhelming
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Well written, I suppose, but I was disappointed when I learned this is not just about a boy separated from his pet fox, but is also a middle grade grief book. I'm just so sick of that storyline! Then, on top of my disgust over that well-worn path for character development and plot tension, the sadness of Peter leaving Pax and Pax's struggle to survive made this a book that I had a hard time enjoying. Going into this knowing it was an animal book made me expect sadness, of course, but I think you ...more
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
So which is it? You going back for your home or for your pet? They're the same thing, Peter said, the answer sudden and sure, although a surprise to him.

A heart-warming, rewarding novel, everybody should reach for. I recommend it not only to youngsters who saw the fox on the cover and immediately fell in love, but also to those, who are looking for a novel not only decorated with friendship and love, despite all obstacles, but also about acceptance and loss and most of all, an adventure.

A very
Mar 19, 2017 added it
such!!! a sweet!!! book!!!! ahh!!!!!! my heart is so full and sad that this little story is over.
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Deyanne by: Caroline Bernards
Shelves: adolescent
This National Book Award nominee came into my life at the right time. This is the first book I have read for pleasure in over a year. My nine year old granddaughter recommended it for our summer literacy choice. Knowing her love of animals, I was enchanted with Pax and his story. Perhaps on a deeper level, the pain of loss and even the instance of PTSD touched me in a relevant way. I shed a few tears. I related to this book on many levels. In gratitude for her suggestion, I gifted her with a del ...more
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Peter (human) and Pax (fox) have a special relationship, but Peter is forced to abandon Pax. Immediately regretting his decision, Peter decides to rescue Pax and the book is told in alternating chapters about the trials and tribulations of both. Peter breaks his foot, and is nursed both physically and emotionally by the mysterious Vola while Pax finds a young and old fox friend, who help him survive in the wild. I think the book's portrayal of humans was pretty harsh, but accurate. The ending wa ...more
Mary Ann
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A boy. A fox. Inseparable, until they are suddenly torn 300 miles apart. Told in the alternating voices of Peter and Pax the fox, this is a story of the friendship between a child and an animal, a story full of love, loyalty and determination, a story about how grief, war and anxiety can take deep root but how friendship can help you find peace within.

I've just finished this and, oh my, how the themes are vibrating in my mind and soul. Loyalty, friendship, family, anxiety, fear, determination, g
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I avoided reading this book for awhile because I knew it would break my heart ( yes it did !) while it is a children’s book as an adult I found it a beautiful read . I loved the chapters from the fox’s perspective .... we have a lot to learn .
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Great Middle Grad...: BOTM for January is Pax 20 54 Feb 20, 2021 02:23AM  
Great Middle Grad...: Has anyone read Pax? 9 80 Jan 03, 2021 07:36AM  
Historical fiction 1 8 Oct 09, 2019 07:31PM  
Historical fiction 1 5 Oct 07, 2019 08:37PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Bearstone: With Related Readings (Glencoe Literature Library, #8)
  • The Wild Robot (The Wild Robot, #1)
  • The Runaway Bunny
  • Splat the Cat: Splat the Cat Sings Flat
  • Spy School (Spy School, #1)
  • The Velveteen Rabbit
  • Karen's Witch (Baby-Sitters Little Sister Graphic Novel #1)
  • Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket
  • Diary of Steve the Noob 8 (An Unofficial Minecraft Book)
  • The Snow Dancer
  • ハリー・ポッターと炎のゴブレット 上
  • The Lorax
  • The Royal Ranger: A New Beginning (The Royal Ranger, #1)
  • Bridge to Terabithia
  • Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson's Journal
  • Winnie-the-Pooh (Winnie-the-Pooh, #1)
  • James and the Giant Peach
  • Oh, the Places You'll Go!
See similar books…
See top shelves…

Other books in the series

Pax (2 books)
  • Pax, Journey Home (Pax, #2)

Related Articles

  Readers just can't get enough witch stories in 2021. And what's not to love: It's not everybody who can attend shadowy academic societies,...
71 likes · 7 comments
“Because I am exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing. That is peace.” 56 likes
“The plain truth can be the hardest thing to see when it's about yourself. If you don't want to know the truth, you'll do anything to disguise it.” 37 likes
More quotes…