So, you may have been wondering where all the book reviews have gone. Well…since I took a trip to Iceland, I used the trip to make tiny inroads into the enormous pile of e-books I have downloaded to my Kindle, chiefly a 5 book series called Gone to Green by Judy Christie. I’ve also been reading through an old series by Mercedes Lackey (Bardic Voices) that I picked up at 2nd and Charles (do you have one of these used bookstores? They’re fabulous!) But I did manage to download and read two children’s books, Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon and Moo by Sharon Creech. Since the Dragonbreath series has been around for a while, I won’t review it here. Suffice it to say that I’ve been recommending this book for years based on appearance and popularity, but hadn’t actually read one for myself. I now have, and can confidently recommend it.
Moo was new to me, and I downloaded it based on Ms. Creech’s previous books. I wasn’t expecting to find that it was a novel in verse—not that I object, but it surprised me.
Reena’s father loses his job, and the family decides, based on a chance remark from Reena, to relocate from New York City to Maine. When her mother strikes up a friendship with a crotchety neighbor, Mrs. Falala, she volunteers Reena and her brother, Luke, to help with Mrs. Falala’s menagerie of animals, including one mean cow named Zora.
Reena and Luke are less than thrilled to put it mildly. They are afraid of the animals, and Mrs. Falala is mean to them. Gradually, though, the three form an unexpected friendship, and Reena learns the tricks to getting a cow to cooperate with you.
Moo was a fast read (that tends to happen when you’re stuck in an airport for hours), and made me teary. Reena, Luke and Mrs. Falala all learn from each other, and grow in good ways, and there’s a tiny hint of romance for spice. Death is a part of the book, too, making this a good recommend for kids learning to cope with unexpected loss. I would hand it to kids in grades 4-5.