Monday, March 28, 2011

What Happened on Fox Street

Booklist starred (September 1, 2010 (Vol. 107, No. 1)) Grades 4-7. Fox Street is missing a few things. One of them is foxes. The other is Mo Wren’s mother, who died when Mo’s sister, Dottie, was little more than a toddler. Even though they’re not around, 10-year-old Mo never stops looking for a fox in the ravine where her street dead-ends. And she never stops missing her mother, even as she takes on the responsibility of being in charge of wild-child Dottie and helping her dad. Fox Street, however, is home to some wonderful things as well: good neighbors, a plum tree in the backyard, and in the summertime, a best friend, Mercedes, who comes to stay with her grandmother, Da. When Mercedes arrives, summer really begins, but this year it is full of conundrums and upsets for both girls as their lives change and truths are revealed. Mo especially sees that the harder she tries to hold on, the less she can control. Springstubb does a lovely job of mixing character, plot, and purpose in a story that contains both hardscrabble realities and moments of magic realism. Her fluency of language supports both scenes that are down and dirty and those that soar. But it is her ability to render Mo’s tangle of emotions as her hopes and dreams collide with worries and fears that makes this so memorable.

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