From School Library Journal
Gr 3-7–Thoughtful 11-year-old Mo Wren loves the house on Fox Street that she shares with her father and younger sister, the "Wild Child." Everyone in this blue-collar neighborhood in Cleveland, OH, looks out for one another; there is a lush Green Kingdom of woods and trees at the end of the street; and her best friend, Mercedes, comes from Cincinnati to spend each summer with her grandmother, Da, who lives across the way. The street also holds all of Mo's memories of her deceased mother. When life takes some unanticipated turns, however, the world as Mo knows it is threatened. A shady developer offers her father a lucrative deal on the house, giving hope to his dreams of moving away from the painful past and owning a family-friendly sports bar. Mercedes seems different also now with more luxuries than she and her mother could ever have afforded before her mother's new marriage, causing her to notice the shabbiness of Fox Street. Because of Da's failing health, the family plans to take her to Cincinnati to live with them and Mo worries that she will never get to see Mercedes again. Throw in a spooky old lady next door who asks Mo to deliver mysterious gifts to Mercedes and you've got an eventful summer. Springstubb creates a richly human and believable story of the conflicts of growing up and a well-paced, interesting plot with plenty of surprises that readers should find pleasurable and satisfying.D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH
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*Starred Review* 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. Grades 4-7. --Ilene Cooper