Mo Wren is an 11-year-old girl living with her widower father and younger sister on Fox Street. None of the residents of Fox Street have a lot of money or a super-nice house, but every takes care of one another in their own way. From Da across the way who has taken on the role of Grandmother to the neighborhood, to the Boggett boys that stick up for each other (even when they're being mischievous boys), and even cranky Mrs. Steinbott who attempts to make nice with her neighbors after being crochety for years.
However, this particular summer, things start to get shaken up on Fox Street. A mysterious letter arrives for Mo's father, in which a businessman is offering to buy their house, Da is feeling out of sorts, Mercedes, Da's granddaughter from out of town and Mo's best friend, arrives with a new snotty attitude and some scary news, and Dottie, Mo's little sister, is acting like a complete wild child. Thrown in a first love interest and poor Mo is a wreck!
Let me just tell you, librarians, teachers, and parents everywhere, have been waiting for this book for a long time. Mo is not only a refreshing, thoughtful main character, but she is living the life that a lot of us are living during this economic downturn. Lack of money and the lure of more of it have become a part of our every day lives, children included, and this is a book that truly showcases that, without being in-your-face. Mo is an average girl, in a great neighborhood that just happens to be facing a lot of trouble.
While reading this, I was constantly reminded of The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. The story is perfect for a read aloud with your family and features such a great cast of characters that you'll have a hard time picking your favorite. And you (and the kids) will love going on a personal journey with Mo as she has revelations about what it means to grow up on Fox Street, what it means to not have a mother, and just who she really wants to be in the world.
I see awards in the future for this fabulous book by Tricia Springstubb!
What Happened on Fox Street
Balzer & Bray
Review copy borrowed