During the year after his release, Pax had finally found his place with Bristle and her younger brother Runt. And now Pax had a family of his own after Bristle gave birth to three kits, two males and one female, a curious vixen who immediately became her father's favorite, the one towards whom he feels most protective. But when Pax decides his family needs to find a new, safer home, he and the little vixen set out to find one. Those they face many dangerous obstacles, the worst is the contaminated water that makes Pas's daughter very sick.
Peter, meanwhile, has learned that his father did not survive the war. Now an orphan, he decides to join the Junior section of the Water Warriors, a group whose purpose is to "repurpose the training, the equipment, and the workforce of the military to repair the damage done in the war" and kids could help to clean the now contaminated water.
As Pax and his increasingly ill daughter make their way back to Bristle, Peter, filled with guilt, realizes he must face his past and stay in his childhood home, then stand in the spot where he let Pax go and later lost his father. Embarking on their respective journeys home, Peter and Pax each faces obstacles and choices that could change their lives forever. Peter's journey could be one of redemption, Pax's journey one of forgiveness. But does Peter have the courage to do what he must do? And will Pax be able make a desperate decision to try to say his daughter's life?
Pennypacker has kept to the same format as the first book, telling Peter and Pax's respective stories in alternating chapters. Reader's of Book #1 know that Pax is not an anthropomorphized fox (which would definitely have spoil the whole ambiance of the books). Instead, Pennypacker has again used italicized words to represent the "vocalization, gesture, scent, and expression of fox communication.
Whereas Pax is a wartime story, Pax, Journey Home is a post war story, and includes all the useless destruction and loss war brings. And while Peter is seeking personal redemption, he is also redeeming the land that was destroyed by soldiers like his father. And what of the wonderful Volo, who has taught Peter so much about rebuilding his body and his life, she's still there and waiting for Peter to find home.
I didn't really expect there would be a sequel to Pax, but I'm glad there is. I didn't realize I wanted closure after finishing book #1 until I finished the perfectly titled Pax, Journey Home.
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