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THE LESSON OF MOOGOO MAAGOOVILLE

Author: Karen Jensen

Illustrator: George Ostroushko

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Publisher: Weasel Books, Galde Press, Inc.,

Material: hard cover

Summary: When the adults let pride and greed get in the way, the towns of Moogoo and Maagoo are headed for ruin. Even the Council of Light wants to step in to help. Just as complete disaster approached the towns, Zak and Laroy, a Moo and a Maa, taught the adults a lesson about friendship. This is a rhyming allegory with a timeless story of stubborn adults and true friendship.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 10; read yourself: 7 to 10

Interest Level: 4 to 9

Age of Child: Started reading with 5½-year-old child.

Young Reader Reaction: We weren't sure what our child thought about this one, until s/he asked for it again a couple nights after the first reading. Now, a week later, s/he insists that it stay on the nightstand.

Adult Reader Reaction: This was a surprise hit. It is rather wordy, and we've been amazed by our child's prolonged interest in the book. Our tongues tire well before s/he is ready for us to stop reading. The Council of Light is a great complement. For those seeking a faith-based story, there is enough there to build on, but it isn't an in-your-face nor religion-specific reference. Bravo!

Pros: The story is a classic one (adults feud, children save the day), told with allegory (people are poos and choos) and rhyming text.

Cons: None, really ... except for the tongue-twisting names of the races, towns, "poos" and "choos."

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. The allegory helps children understand the story's lessons without sounding like a political statement or last-night's news.

If You Liked This Book, Try: GORP'S DREAM: A TALE OF DIVERSITY, TOLERANCE, AND LOVE IN PUMPERNICKEL PARK   LAVI THE LION FINDS HIS PRIDE   WHEN BAT WAS A BIRD AND OTHER ANIMAL TALES FROM AFRICA

Educational Themes: With this story you can talk about friendship, the relationship between adults and children (with an emphasis on perseverence!), several vices (pride, greed, prejudice), problem solving, keeping an open mind, and conflict resolution. Although these are a literary people, the material is rife with opportunities to transition to real-world societies.

Literary Categories: fiction - picture book, friendship, life lessons

Date(s) Reviewed: April 2007

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