Moo

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Moo Book Poster Image
City kids meet cow in fun tale of empathy, perseverance.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A glimpse into how cows behave, what kind of care they need, and the work that goes into showing livestock at fairs. Demonstration of time invested in learning new skill paying off with stronger skills.

Positive Messages

Pushing through discomfort and frustration results in growth and strength. Trying new things -- even things you think you'll dislike -- helps you discover new interests and passions. First impressions don't tell the whole story. Kindness and generosity aren't always easy and can require personal sacrifice.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Reena and Luke are very responsible and hardworking. They're chided for being disrespectful of Mrs. Falala at first, but they were speaking up for themselves and confronting her rudeness. They accept their parents' scolding and respect the commitment to help their neighbor. Mrs. Falala is an exacting boss, but the children realize she has somewhat hidden charms. Reena and Luke's parents are empathetic and involved parents, nudging them toward experiences that challenge and build their character.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Moo is an appealing, fun-to-read story about kindness and learning to be open to new experiences. Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech (Walk Two Moons) opens her story with a sister and brother abruptly relocated from a city to rural Maine. The children readily embrace the pleasures of summer in a small, coastal community, but getting acclimated to their unofficial summer job -- the hard, filthy work of tending to a crotchety neighbor's cow -- is harder to accept. Short chapters, fun use of different typefaces and layouts, and a mix of prose and free-verse poetry may appeal to reluctant readers. The story deals with themes of death, from concern about the fate of farm livestock to the death of a character (due to natural circumstances).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 11 years old December 12, 2017

Okay, But A Little Boring

This novel is written in a very interesting way - it's almost in poetry form. It was slow and a bit boring in the beginning in my opinion. Towards the end,... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old December 8, 2017

Good Novel But Heartbreaking

This novel is a very quick read not in the way that is so suspenseful you can’t put down but the print is pretty big. The only thing is that the sad event at th... Continue reading

What's the story?

MOO introduces 12-year-old Reena and her family -- her brother, Luke, and her parents, unemployed journalists -- as they leave city life and head to coastal Maine for a fresh start. Everything about their new town is strange and novel, but nothing is stranger than their elderly neighbor, Mrs. Falala, who lives alone with an odd assortment of animals. Reena's parents "volunteer" her and Luke to help Mrs. Falala care for her cow, Zora, who's even more ornery than her owner. Mrs. Falala wants the kids to show her stubborn, ill-behaved cow in the fair. Reena and Luke don't like Mrs. Falala or Zora, but day by day they learn more about their neighbor, her cow, and themselves.

Is it any good?

The story is familiar -- children learn life lessons from a cranky elderly person -- but Sharon Creech's delightful writing makes this book feel fresh as a dewy morning on the farm. Moo is chock-full of gorgeous phrases ("a harlequin city," "inkwell eyes") that make its strong message about kindness and empathy seem light and fun. Lively visual treatment of the text adds to the pleasure of reading: Rain pours down the page, "soft, gray fffffffog" hovers, and flute music floats through the air.

As Reena transforms from an "inside girl" to an "outside girl," her world expands to include new friends, respect for hard work and skill, and deeper appreciation of kindness. Mrs. Falala will be a familiar type to many young readers; as her character is more fully revealed, children might look at the older people in their lives with more curiosity and empathy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the blend of poetry and prose in Moo and how the visual treatment of the words affects the reading. Do you find the different fonts and typefaces helpful to the story or distracting?

  • Do you think Reena and Luke are initially disrespectful to Mrs. Falala? Is she respectful? Is there a better way the children could have handled that situation?

  • Was it fair for Reena's parents to insist the siblings work for Mrs. Falala? Have you ever had something positive come out of a task you initially resented?

Book details

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