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"Introduce your child to the local library; libraries are places of discovery and learning for all ages."
Summary: Reena (12) narrates the story of her family's new life. Her parents had recently lost their jobs and decided it was time to leave the big city. When Reena suggested "Maine," her parents were all in. Expecting blueberries and lobsters and all those Maine-y things, Reena was excited, too. She wasn't expecting that she and little brother Luke (7) would be "volunteered" to help elderly neighbor Mrs. Falala ... and THAT COW. Zora! Between the two of them, Reena wasn't sure which was the bigger challenge: meeting Mrs. Falala's expectations or getting Zora to listen. This wholesome coming of age story told in Reena's voice offers humor, life lessons, and joy. It has potential as a high interest / low readability book.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 13; read yourself: 10 and Up
Interest Level: 0 to 3
Reading Level: 4.4
Adult Reader Reaction: Beware! This is a well-paced story that doesn't want to let go of your heart. Reena and Luke are endearing characters; and we all have had a Mrs. Falala and Zora in our lives. It is also refreshing to have parental characters whose actions (despite the impulsive move to Maine) are realistic. Moo is poignant, humorous, and well worth having on your shelf. In parts it reads like a novel in verse, with plenty of white space and fun use of fonts to encourage reluctant readers.
Pros: Engaging characters and humor combine to create an uplifting, enjoyable story. This is a delightful book for young readers, and adults too!
Borrow or Buy: Definitely borrow! This would make a nice gift for a soon-to-be teenager or teachers who love read-alouds in their classroom.
Educational Themes: This is a book meant to be read for fun. As a read aloud, there are several places where you can pause and ask your audience "what's next" or "what would you do?" Mrs. Falala is from a different time (for today's kids) and it may be enlightening to ask kids to see the world from her shoes.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - middle grade, family, life lessons, friendship