Judging A Book

Judging A Book By Its Cover: Snow White

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

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Book Review

Book Review: Pax

By Sarah Pennypacker

My Edition:
(A beautiful) Hardcover, 276 pages
2016, Balzer + Bray
ISBN: 9780062377012

Peter is being sent to live with his grandfather while his father joins the war effort and must leave his beloved pet fox, Pax, behind. Confused and worried, Pax waits by the side of the road for his boy to return. Later that night Peter realizes that he never should have abandoned his friend and sets off on a journey he’s unprepared for. Boy and fox set off to find each other and both will learn lessons about family and war.

I knew I would love this book, but I didn’t know how much I would love it. In just under 300 pages, Pennypacker had me deeply involved in both the lives of the boy and his fox, and desperate for them to be reunited. This book was poignant and adorable and very moving. Pax gave me some nostalgic Homeward Bound feelings with the whole animal-journeying-to-its-human theme. I’ll tell you right now, I cried twice and have no regrets. (I love when books make me cry. I can’t be the only one, right?!)

Peter is twelve and still suffering from the loss of his mother five years ago, having bottled up his feelings rather than address them. His relationship with his father is distant and strained, leaving Pax as his closest family member. Readers learn a lot about Peter and his past and how he views life, and Pennypacker shaped him into a very realistic boy.

Now, I know nothing about fox behavior (or really any animal behavior, even that of my own cats) but Pax felt like a real fox. Obviously his thoughts are formed in a way we as humans can understand, but he still had a very animalistic feel and there was a simplicity there that I found charming.

I’m finding this book a lot harder to talk about than I imagined. I really just loved every minute of it. Pennypacker writes thoughtfully about emotion, personal truths and war. The book also has a timeless feel – there is little mention of technology, leaving the time period open to interpretation. I chose to read it as the recent past, but it could still be our present day, or even a future where we’ve lost some of the technology we’re so reliant on today. The ending was unsatisfying in the best way and this is certainly a book I’ll read more than once.

I can tell you right now, Pax will certainly be at the top of my ‘top whatever’ list I make at the end of the year. I think animal lovers young and old will enjoy this book and if you’re already a fan of middle grade, you’ll likely enjoy this too. If you’re not yet a middle grade fan, perhaps Pax will be the book to hook you in!

“We all own a beast called anger. It can serve us: many good things come of anger at bad things; many unjust things are made just. But first we all have to figure out how to civilize it.”

Bonus pictures:

Judging A Book

Judging A Book By Its Cover: The Hobbit

I know we’re all familiar with that old phrase, “Never judge a book by its cover” and I’d like to think that as book fans, we try extra hard to follow that rule (both literally and more metaphorically in relation to all areas of life). But let’s be real guys, we do judge books by their covers. If we didn’t, publishers wouldn’t keep putting out different cover designs for our favorite novels!

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Book Review

Book Review: Fool by Christopher Moore

Welcome to my blog! Lately, I’ve really started working on a review format and trying to come up with more detailed, thoughtful reviews than I normally write. I’ll be posting reviews here, along with pictures of the books I read, pictures of books I own, little surveys, and really anything I can think of that’s related to books! Hopefully, you enjoy! I’m always interested in hearing what others think about the books I’ve read, what they recommend, etc. Feel free to leave comments!

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