Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Pax

Klassen, Jon (Illustrator)
HarperCollins 2016. 278 pages
First published: 2016
ISBN: 9780062377012 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel

Text Elements:

character, conflict, dialogue, point of view, setting

Award

National Book Award Finalist – 2016

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Motherless 12-year-old Peter is forced to abandon his pet fox in the woods when he is sent to live with his grandfather, so his dad can serve in the war, but he quickly regrets the separation. So begins Peter’s pilgrimage, while Pax sets about on his own search for “his boy.”

War ravages everything, including the animal kingdom. Characters, fox or human, are depicted in such empathic detail that it’s easy to get attached to them, and it’s devastating when one of Pax’s new fox friends is maimed.

The foxes have a meticulously researched and richly imagined life that will expand the minds of readers. “The morning air pulsed with the noises of spring. The long night before, they had alarmed Pax. The blackness had quivered with the rustle of night prowlers, and even the sounds of the trees themselves—leaves unfurling, sap coursing up new wood, the tiny cracklings of expanding bark—had startled him over and over as he waited for Peter to return.”

Relayed by a third-person narrator, chapters alternate in focus between the boy and the fox. Black and white drawings add texture to the story with select representations of the characters and forest.

The final lesson, that Pax is a wild animal who belongs in the forest, is a difficult one, but like Peter, readers will come to accept its truth.

  •  

    What do you know, wonder and infer about the characters’ pasts? Continue to discuss and revise your thinking as you read.

  •  

    How does war disrupt the lives of the characters? What is the author’s message about the cost of war?

  •  How are the journeys that Pax and Peter take similar and different? Use a graphic organizer to represent the events that occur in each storyline.
  •  

    Why do you think the author chose to use the opening and concluding statements: “Just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening,” and “Sometimes the apple rolls very far from the tree.”

  •  

    Share the reading: one partner reads the odd-numbered chapters, the other reads the even-numbered ones. As you read, create a mind map to help you retell each chapter to your partner.

  •  

    Examine and discuss the illustrations. Choose a chapter from 1-30 and illustrate it in the same style as the book. Hang all the student illustrations in chapter order and retell the scenes.

  •  How are Pax and Peter’s journeys similar and different? Use a graphic organizer to represent the events that occur in each storyline.
  •  

    Illustrate (using a map or a 3D display) the setting of this story. Add vignettes to tell about the different spaces.

  •  

    Briefly research the red fox. With a partner, discuss whether it would make a good pet or not and try to reach an agreement.

  •  

    While you read, note the parallel experiences of Pax and Peter in their respective chapters. What do these parallels tell you?

  •  

    Identify keywords that best define the story of Peter and Pax. Design a crossword puzzle using those keywords as answers. Exchange puzzles with a partner.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To solve problems
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Personal Development