Reena's father loses his job in the city, so the family decides to move to Maine to make a fresh start. Reena's parents volunteer her and her little brother, Luke, to help an older Italian lady, Mrs. Falala, take care of her livestock, including an contrary cow named Zora. At first the two are clueless about how to take care of the cow, but Mrs. Falala and some neighborhood kids help them and Reena gradually becomes very attached to the cow and to Mrs. Falala.
This is a book written in free verse like Creech's Love that Dog, and Hate that Cat. There was a lot that I liked about the book. I liked that when the parents tell the kids to help Mrs. Falala, they grumble, but actually try hard to do something they don't want to do just to be obedient. How often are there books about kids who are obedient to their parents and good things come of it? The relationships in the book are very sweet, and because it is written in verse, it isn't very long. If a grandparent had to babysit grandkids for a weekend and wanted a read aloud, they could get through the whole book in a few sittings. I am not sure how much I will be recommending the book, however. It is slower paced than a lot of what kids are reading these days. I will probably be giving it to parents who enjoyed reading things like The Penderwicks or The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate to their families. (278 p.)