“You going back for your home or for your pet?” “They’re the same thing.”
Now, this book may be sitting and waiting to be picked up in the children’s section of any bookshop but it sure isn’t a book for children.
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 favourite toy soldier into the woods. When the fox runs to retrieve it, Peter and his dad get back in the car and leave him there—alone. But before Peter makes it through even one night under his grandfather’s roof, regret and duty spur him to action; he packs for a trek to get his best friend back and sneaks into the night. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their independent struggles to return to one another against all odds. Told from the alternating viewpoints of Peter and Pax.
The story is about a boy who needs to leave his pet fox behind because his father says so. The narrative presents two perspectives: the boy’s and the fox’s. Pax, the fox, loves ‘his boy’ more than he loves himself and so does Peter, the boy. The only difference is that only one of the two realises it first.
“Where do you go when you die? Maybe you turn into wind. Maybe you turn into stars. Maybe you turn into a firefly and light up the night.”
Jules and her older sister Sylvie are very close and enjoy living in their rural Vermont property with their father. They like spending time with Sam, their neighbour, who is the best friend of both girls and dreams of one day spotting a catamount in the nearby woods. Although the siblings are separated only by a year, Jules remembers very little of their mother who died when they were young.
One day Sylvie goes missing, and as Jules suffers, a fox cub is born – a shadow fox, spirit and animal in one. From the minute the cub opens her eyes, she senses something very wrong. Someone—Jules.
Who is this Jules? Who is this Sylvie she cries out for? And why does the air still prickle with something unsettled? As that dark unknown grows, the fates of the girl Jules and the fox Senna, laced together with wishes and shadowy ties, are about to collide.
This book is an example of how a children’s book can still be read and enjoyed when you’re an adult. It’s about losing someone and how the ones left behind should deal with that kind of loss. It’s about understanding the importance of life itself. It has depth and complexities I think children aren’t capable of grasping at their age (fortunately for them).
“Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.”
Flavia de Luce, an 11-year-old aspiring chemist and with a particular interest for poison, invites us into her life full of a series of inexplicable events: a dead bird is found on her doorstep with a post stamp pinned to its beak. Hours later, she finds a dying man in the garden who whispers her something in Latin. For Flavia, who feels both appalled and delighted by what happened, life begins at last: exactly when murder comes to Buckshaw, her home.
Flavia is more than what she seems at first: she may be rude but she is also thoughtful; she is incredibly clever but definitely dangerous. She is impossible but somewhat realistic. Because children are unusual in their own ways and Flavia is no exception. She just has an inclination towards poison and trouble. But that’s not exactly what made me love her so much.