By Sharon Creech
What happens when 12-year-old Reena and her family transfer from the crowds, noise and hectic pace of New York City to the farms, beaches and beauty of coastal Maine? More than they ever expect!
Shortly after settling into their new home, Reena’s mother volunteers Reena and her 7-year-old brother Luke to help an elderly, eccentric (and somewhat cranky) neighbor woman named Mrs. Falala with chores around her farm. As the children reluctantly show up for work the first day, they discover that Mrs. Falala has a menagerie of animals – a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna and one particularly stubborn, ornery and slobbering cow named Zora. As the two children progress from menial jobs to a close relationship with the animals and their owner, they learn the meaning of hard work, patience and kindness. Maine isn’t all about the blueberries, lobsters and cold weather their New York friends had told them about. It is that and much much more!
Through a mixture of prose and free verse poems, Creech packs descriptive images, landscape and emotion into this beautiful tale of a developing friendship and the cranky cow that brought them all together.
Recommended for grades 3 – 5.
Reviewed by Connie (Schimelpfenig Library)