This a beautiful book. The elegant art work of Jon Klassen complements the prose of Sara Pennypacker in this fable about war and the strength of love across barriers.
When Peter’s father enlists, Peter must go to live with his dour Grandfather. There is no place for the foxcub, Pax, who has become Peter’s inseparable companion. Forced to leave him behind, Peter finds his situation intolerable. He must find Pax.
Told from the alternating point-of-view of Peter and Pax, the reader travels through a country living under the threat of war. Both have to learn to survive, to build new relationships and ultimately to move on without abandoning their friendship. War, seen not through actual battle scenes but through the destruction that follows war – destruction of the environment, destruction of relationships, is the landscape through which they travel. But there is hope as they each make new friends and life goes on.
The reader never knows where this country is; it is presented as any country in the world where war exists. This gives the story a curiously distanced feel. Both Peter and Pax are real and there are moments of great emotion. Though perhaps most suitable for KS3 readers, there would be plenty of younger readers in KS2 who would engage with this thoughtful novel.