81 pages 2 hours read

Sara Pennypacker


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2016

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  • Genre: Fiction; middle grade adventure
  • Originally Published: 2016
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 760L; grades 3-8
  • Structure/Length: 34 chapters; approx. 278 pages; approx. 5 hours, 32 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: The circumstances of an unnamed war compel a young boy, Peter, to abandon his pet fox, Pax. Regretful and heartsick, Peter is determined to find Pax and sets out on a challenging journey in search of his beloved friend. Meanwhile, Pax devotedly searches for Peter with the help of new acquaintances.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: War; death; separation; abandonment            

Sara Pennypacker, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1951; studied art and worked as a painter; homeschooled her children; has written more than 20 children’s books; contributed to Flat Stanley series; lives in Florida and Massachusetts; loves cake, pie, and art; winner of the Golden Kite Award (for Pierre in Love); Clementine books have won numerous awards, including the Christopher Award
  • Other Works: Clementine (2006); Pierre in Love (2007); Waylon! The Most Awesome of All (2019); Pax Journey Home (2021)
  • Awards: National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (longlist, 2016)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • Escape From Captivity Into the Wild
  • The Cost of War
  • False-Acting

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will:

  • Develop an understanding of the emotional toll of war through analysis of the protagonist’s loss of his pet as a central theme.