Review by Booklist Review
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.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2016 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
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.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 3-6-Creech offers a memorable family story featuring an especially difficult cow. When Reena, 12, and her brother Luke, seven, move with their parents to Maine from the noisy bustle of New York City, lots of adjustments are required. The siblings appreciate each other and generally get along. The citified family is thrust into small-town life, and things get awkward when Reena's parents force her and Luke to help out a neighbor, Mrs. Falala, who owns a small menagerie of animals, including one very cantankerous cow. Creech employs a mix of prose and poems. The free verse poems contain spare punctuation, inventive spacing, and clever use of font. As Reena and Luke learn about farm life, they also discover more about Mrs. Falala, who impacts the lives of the family in unexpected ways. VERDICT A heartfelt tale that will be embraced by Creech's fans, work well as a classroom read-aloud, and find a spot in book groups.-Carol A. Edwards, Formerly at Denver Public Library © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
Sick of city life and having recently lost their jobs, Reenas parents decide to move to Maine, to a small coastal town. Its summer, and twelve-year-old Reena and younger brother Luke are free to enjoy the newfound thrill of riding their bikes wherever they want. But then their parents insist that they help an elderly neighbor, and the city kids are soon mucking out the barn for an ornery womans equally ornery cow. The eccentric lady seems pretty witchlike at first with her tilted house and strange menagerie; in addition to Zora the cow, theres a cat, hog, parrot, and snake. Her name -- Mrs. Falala -- however, hints at a much less foreboding nature, as does the lilting flute music the children hear her playing. Just as cranky Zora comes to enjoy the cow companion the kids insist she needs, Mrs. Falalas sour temperament improves with the company of her new friends, especially Luke, who shares her love of art. Reenas narrative uses a comfortable combination of prose, poems, and prose poems, while changing fonts, type sizes, and type placement help express emotion, drama, action, and mood. The story zips along yet somehow conveys the slow growth of trust and friendship between young and old, human and bovine. Its Reena who first suggests they move to Maine, because shes read three books that made her feel I was there already / in my mind; Creechs novel memorably does the same. jennifer m. brabander (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.