When her parents decide they aren’t happy in New York anymore, 12-year-old Reena moves from New York to a small farm town in Maine. To keep busy over the summer, Reena’s mom and dad volunteer her and her little brother, Luke, to help out on an old woman’s farm just down the road. At first, it’s just moving hay bales and shoveling stinky unmentionables. As the days pass, Reena discovers that she must care for Zora, the cow. Reena must turn the most ornery cow in all of Maine into a showable farm animal. The task seems impossible at first. The 800 lb cow won’t budge an inch, except for an occasional head bump. However, Reena learns to love the big black and white creature, and along the way, discovers how much she loves the little quirks of living in a small town in Maine.
The story itself is told in tiny chapters composed of both prose and poems. Sharon Creech, author and Newbery Medalist, has created a novel that is truly fun to read. She plays with page design and fonts in a way that helps build the uniquely beautiful rural setting. Aside from the interesting journey in storytelling, it was refreshing to read a character as cool as Reena. It is clear this young lady is figuring out who she is and where she fits, but she does so without a glimmer of angst. She is never resentful of her parents about moving, but instead finds a way, all on her own, to settle into this new place. This is a lovely story, and a fun, quick read for young readers.