cover image Moo


Sharon Creech. Harper, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-0624-1524-0

In a book that could have easily been titled Love That Cow (or Hate That Cow, actually) Newbery Medalist Creech uses short chapters that blend poems and prose to trace a displaced city girl’s adjustment to life in a “boat-bobbing/ sea salty harbor town” in Maine. After 12-year-old Reena’s parents move the family to Maine from “a harlequin city/ of sights and noises,/ of museums and parks and music,” there’s more in store for Reena and her younger brother, Luke, than cold weather, lobster, and blueberries—starting with elderly Mrs. Falala and her menagerie of pets, including Zora, a cow as cantankerous as her owner. At their parents urging, Reena and Luke begin helping Mrs. Falala with chores, and before long Reena has agreed to take care of Zora and show her at the local fair, which requires work, patience, and help from more experienced livestock handlers. As Reena learns that a little kindness works wonders for both people and animals, Creech’s spare narrative creates vivid, emotion-packed images of landscapes, characters, and “that/ wild-eyed/ heifer,” Zora, that will stay with readers. Ages 8–12. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Aug.)