Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? This is a heartwarming family story told in free verse poetry. Twelve year old Reena and her seven-year old brother Luke move from the city to a small town in Maine. Adjusting is hard, especially when their parents volunteer them to help out a cranky neighbor. Mrs. Falala has quite a menagerie including a cat, Paulie the pig, a parrot and a snake. Not to mention Zora, an ornery and cantankerous cow. Mrs. Falala decides that Reena should train Zora for the county fair. Though it takes lots of hard and sometimes smelly work, Reena perseveres. In the process Reena learns a lot about herself. By the story’s end, both Reena and Luke have made friends and become a part of the small coastal community. The short chapters are made up of verse, with some words going vertical on the page and lots of use of space in the design. Readers will be drawn into the setting through the beautiful poetic text: “And as we stood there/the fog rose/slowly, surely,/revealing first the hulls/and then the masts/of wooden vessels/their sails/rolled/into/cocoons/and lobster boats rolling/and red-blue-yellow buoys bobbing.” This is a wonderful story about growing up that is full of realistic warmth and humor.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? Fans of the author’s previous works will love this new book.
Who should buy this book? Public libraries and elementary and middle school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA
Date of review: 12/6/16