Thursday, July 28, 2016

Book Review: Moo

Published By: HarperCollins
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Page Count: 288
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Middle Grades - Contemporary

Reena has grown up in the hustle and bustle of the city. She loves the noise, concrete, and crowds, but when economic hardships hit her family, she knows that moving to the country is the right thing to do. An afternoon drive has her blurting out Maine when her parents ask where they should go. Before Reena knows it, boxes are packed and the family is one the road to their new home in rural coastal Maine.

Once the family settles into their quaint new hometown, Reena and her younger brother, Luke, go off to explore. They find they have an odd fascination with the cows in the area which leads them to make new friends with teens who work on a nearby farm. Their parents are also meeting new people which leads to the family's association with Mrs. Falala, a cranky old woman who lives alone on a farm with her ornery animals. 

Reena and Luke end up working on Mrs. Falala's farm to care for her animals which leads Reena to form a bond with Zora, a stubborn cow. The bond between human and animal is magical to me; it's a special loyalty that can be difficult to find with another human. I loved watching Reena and Zora bond. I'm not an expert on animal husbandry and fairs, so I enjoyed learning along with Reena.

In addition to the bond between Reena and Zora, I also enjoyed watching Reena interact with others - particularly Luke and Mrs. Falala. Luke is often the younger annoying brother, but its evident that Reena has a strong affection for him. The evolution of her relationship with Mrs. Falala was realistic and touching.

The setting of this one was gorgeous. I have always wanted to visit Maine; Moo makes it seem like such a picturesque place to live.

Moo is told through both verse and prose. I enjoyed the mixture of these two forms. I would recommend this one to middle grades readers who are looking for good, clean fun with some serious undertones. It would also be a great fit for a reluctant reader as its a quick read.

One Last Gripe: I don't have one.

Favorite Thing About This Book: The emphasis on relationships

First Sentence: The truth is, she was ornery and stubborn, wouldn't listen to anybody, and selfish beyond selfish, and filthy, caked with mud and dust, and moody: you'd better watch it or she'd knock you flat.

Favorite Character: Reena

Least Favorite Character: Edna the Snake - I hate snakes, ugh

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.

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