Monday, December 12, 2016

MMGM: Moo by Sharon Creech


ABOUT THE BOOK

Fans of Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog and Hate That Cat will love her newest tween novel, Moo. This uplifting tale reminds us that if we’re open to new experiences, life is full of surprises. Following one family’s momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old Reena and one very ornery cow.

When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn’t know what to expect. She’s ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna—and that stubborn cow, Zora.

This heartwarming story, told in a blend of poetry and prose, reveals the bonds that emerge when we let others into our lives.


REVIEW

Ever since I first read Love That Dog, I've looked forward to reading Sharon Creech's novels in verse.  I've developed a greater appreciation for this style of writing stories as I've gotten older.  I'm not sure I would have like it as much as a child, but I have heard a number of students tell me they also like Love That Dog, so I'm thinking I could probably get them to like this book as well.  Reena is a great narrator as she describes for the reader her experiences moving from a really big city to a very rural town in Maine.  The culture shock she and her brother, Luke, experience is especially well depicted in their interactions with their neighbor Mrs. Falala and her animals.  When Reena and Luke get 'volunteered' by their parents to help Mrs. Falala take care of her animals, the kids are definitely in over their heads and a bit resentful at first.  Especially since Mrs. Falala is a rather unusual lady and their first interactions with her weren't particularly enjoyable.  But as Reena learns to take care of the animals, especially Zora, a rather, feisty, stubborn, cow, her confidence starts to grow and she develops an interest in showing the cow at the upcoming fair.  Some of the poetry hear reads more like prose, while other poems do an excellent job of creating strong emotion and atmosphere at key moments of the story.  Ms. Creech has definitely created another winning combination here of great characters, a surprisingly simple yet thoughtful storyline, and a fantastic setting.  I would definitely put this book on my list of Newbery contenders for 2017.

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