Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solstice and Mo Wren

Sunrise was at 5:11, sunset will be at 9:11!

It's Solstice! The day is 15 hours, 59 minutes and 29seconds long, just 31 seconds short of 16 hours. Is there a chance for some warmth? The moon is a little more than half full right outside the kitchen window where I write. So cool to watch it slip down toward the horizon moment by moment - when I started today it was above the power lines, it's now fallen to just above the Pac Med building on Beacon Hill. The buildings in downtown Seattle reflected the sunset last night at 10:15 while I was on my way home. The sky still yellow and orange at that time, the blue windows shimmering, the streets below dark. It smelled like pine needles, bruised citrus, and there was a feeling of expectation in the air.

Mo Wren, Lost and Found, by Tricia Springstubb, will be out in August! I LOVE Mo Wren! the first book was called What Happened on Fox Street and I am so happy Judy put this galley on my desk. It was like finding a truffle all wrapped in foil- something to save until it could be savored.

This little series is very much along the lines of the Penderwicks, the Elizabeth Enright Saturdays books, and the Ramona Quimby books. They are funny, poignant, stories about growing up. There's a gap in books for middle readers, there are tons of good genre books for the elementary school world, lots of fantasy, mystery, but not a lot of really good books about dealing with every day life. The books that are written for that age just don't seem to be especially well-written, or maybe I'm just not reading the right ones. I'm glad that I've discovered Tricia Springstubb and her hero Mo Wren.

Mo and her little family of dad and sister, Dottie, live on a street called Fox Street, a magical place where she has lived for her whole life, the same neighbors, the same friends, the same dream of someday seeing the fox the street was named after. When the economy begins to head south her neighbors start to sell their houses and theirs may be next. Her dad's job is in peril and there's a developer looking to buy out everyone. What will the people of Fox Street do?

These books deal with real problems children have like changing friendships, loss, family strife, the stresses of just not knowing yet how to make decisions about life and growing up. Mo is sturdy, careful, caring, a good daughter and a good friend. Her little sister, Dottie, is a wild child and Mo's responsibility while her dad works.

In the new book, Mo feels she has lost everything and her anchor in the world has come loose. She's never had to make new friends, she doesn't know every corner on her street, she's angry and unhappy and unsure about her place in the world. As Mo begins to get more involved in helping her dad start a new business and she begins to investigate the neighborhood and to let people be friends with her, her heart starts to mend and she learns new ways to handle her anger and fear of change.

Mo and her sister, Dottie, are great characters and these books are perfect for ages 8 and up. (Balzer and Bray. Both books are in hardcover. $15.99.)

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