Sunday, February 18, 2018

Moo a novel by Sharon Creech

Newbery Medalist Creech touches on themes of loss, friendship, and belonging in this appealing tale of a young girl’s unlikely relationship with Zora, an enormous belted Galloway. Kirkus

Moo - why was I keen to read this book?

  • It is by the wonderful Sharon Creech
  • Sharon Creech once commented on this blog making me love her even more!
  • I adore belted Galloway cows (even though I have never seen one)
  • Moo is a partly written as a verse novel. I so admire writers who use this genre.
  • Ever since I read The Homecoming and Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt I have sought out books set in Maine

Driving through city traffic Reena's mum says "let's get out of here".  She means let's leave this hectic city life.  But where will they go. Reena says Maine.

"My parents met in Maine many years ago and when they spoke of Maine their voices had the glint of sea and sky. In the car that day, Maine just popped out of my head. I hadn't expected they would take me seriously. I'm glad I didn't say Siberia."

Friends, family, neighbors, strangers all warn against the perils of Maine - especially the cold. But there are also good things - lobsters, blueberries, coastlines and mountains.  When the family arrive mum and dad send Reena and her brother Luke (a seven-year-old complexity) off for a ride around the town - this is unheard of freedom. 

In the city where we'd lived

there were few safe places
for us to ride - 
few places where we weren't competing
with cars and trucks and buses
and surprise clumps of kids
armed with sticks and stone
or wobbly bearded men spitting

but here in this little town by the sea

there were wide sidewalks
and quiet, curving lanes
spreading like tree limbs
from the trunk of the town centre
and you could ride and ride
the whole day long.

Their mother meets the eccentric Mrs Falala and volunteers Reena and Luke to help with a cow called Zora.  Reena and Luke know nothing about cows. Zora is ornery, moody and stubborn not to mention caked with mud and dust.  Somehow Reena and Luke need to make friends with the strangely abrasive Mrs Falala and with Zora, her cow, and then complete the seemingly impossible task of preparing Zora for the country show. But please don't go thinking this is just a book about kids and a cow - it is so much more. Read this book slowly, then read it again. This is story telling at its best.

Listen to an audio sample here from the first few pages of this book.  I would follow Moo with The girl who Bought Mischief and Fly Away.   Of course you should also pick up Love that Dog and Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech.

A heartfelt tale that will be embraced by Creech’s fans, work well as a classroom read-aloud, and find a spot in book groups. School Library Journal

Many children’s books depict a quest or journey, or a huge event in the main character’s life. With MOO, Creech acknowledges the fact that an unlikely friendship with an elderly woman --- and an ornery cow --- is all the drama a children’s book needs in order to shine. KidsReads

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