I read What Happened on Fox Street earlier this year and I loved it so much I went and bought a copy to live on my shelf of favourite books. It was small but perfect. It was a book that I felt had so much heart that you couldn’t read it and not feel filled up again. I just finished the sequel today, Mo Wren, Lost and Found, and already I have my fingers crossed that Tricia Springstubb is planning to write us a third story featuring the delightful Wren family. Both of these books are perfect early Middle Grade novels. They’re about the little (and big) dramas of everyday life, and I think that the author succeeds brilliantly in getting inside her main character’s head. You believe in Mo. You will also savor the writing. There’s the kind of fine attention to language that makes you sure that Springstubb really pays attention to how she wants to say something so that it has the greatest resonance for the reader, perhaps even in ways that you aren’t fully aware of, but you’re appreciating nonetheless. The poetry in the writing is subtle, never showy, and you will find sentences and whole passages that you’ll want to go back to and reread just because the way she put it down on the page was so right. This book, like the first, feels like a classic family story, but also is very much of the present and so will be so easy for young readers to relate to. In the second book, Mo and Dottie and her Dad finally move from Fox Street, and this huge upheaval and all of the dramas that follow it form the heart of the story. Mo has to discover how to be Mo when she isn’t in her beloved home any more. She has to think about what matters most, and look for a reason to be hopeful again.
I dare you to read this book and not feel that ordinary life is amazing for all of its challenges and second chances and communities. I’d say this one is perfect.
Mo Wren, Lost and Found is published by Balzer + Bray.