Zora was chasing us.
When we reached the gate Luke scrambled up and over it instead of through it and I was trying to follow when Zora’s ENORMOUS HEAD loomed up below me and bumped me into the air
When twelve-year-old Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents 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 one very ornery cow named Zora.
From Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech comes a lovely and uplifting story of how a little kindness can change lives, reminding us that if you’re open to new experiences, life offers surprises.
Was there room inside for the sights and sounds and smells of Maine?
Would I know what to do and how to be in Maine?
Potentially Sensitive Areas: None
Booklist (July 2016 (Vol. 112, No. 21))
Grades 3-6. When 12-year-old Reena, her younger brother, and their parents move from New York City to a small town in Maine, the differences are apparent: a slower pace and a quieter place where the kids are free to bike around town on their own. Almost immediately, their mother volunteers their services to Mrs. Falala, an elderly Italian woman who needs help with her cow. From their first job, shoveling manure, they progress to putting a halter on moody Zora, the Belted Galloway cow they gradually befriend. Reena learns to show her at the upcoming fair. The first-person narrative, written partly in prose and partly in free verse, features a city girl facing challenges that strengthen her body and broaden her thinking. The cover design links it to Creech’s previous novels in verse, Love That Dog (2001) and Hate That Cat (2008), and with its distinctive near-rural setting, this highly readable, down-to-earth chapter book offers a refreshing change of pace from most realistic fiction.
Kirkus Reviews starred (June 1, 2016)
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.When 12-year-old Reena’s parents lose their newspaper jobs in the big city, they decide to change the flight plan of their lives and move to a small coastal town in Maine. Reena and her brother, Luke, “a seven-year-old complexity,” are volunteered by their mother to help Mrs. Falala, an elderly and ostensibly cantankerous woman whose menagerie of animals includes a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna, and the ornery, stubborn, slobbering, bellowing cow, Zora. Soon Luke is teaching Mrs. Falala to draw, and Reena is preparing to show Zora at the upcoming fair. The book’s playful use of words sets this novel apart. Not only does Creech seamlessly intersperse prose and poetry, but the design manipulates typeface, font, setting, and spacing to paint word-pictures, in some instances creating concrete poetry while in others emphasizing a few words on the page–an accentuation that makes the story come alive and deftly communicates the range of emotions, from humor to sorrow, that the story conveys. Luke, Reena, and most of their new neighbors are likely white; Beat, an older girl who helps Reena learn about cows, is dark-skinned. Fans of Love That Dog (2001) and Hate That Cat (2010) will find much to love in this story of a girl, a cow, and so much more. (Fiction. 8-12)
About the Author
Sharon Creech was born in South Euclid, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. She is the author of several books for adults and young adults, including the Newbery Medal winning Walk Two Moons.
She currently lives in Maine with her husband, Lyle Rigg, and has two grown children, Rob and Karin.
Her website is www.sharoncreech.com.
Teach Creech Teaching Guide (Including Moo)
The World of Sharon Creech Teaching Guide (Including Moo)
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