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Fall 2016 Publishers’ Preview: Five Questions for Sharon Creech

Publishers' Previews

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2016 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Fall Publishers’ Preview, a semiannual advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

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Photo of Sharon Creech's granddaughter by Karin Leuthy

Photo of Sharon Creech’s granddaughter by Karin Leuthy

In Sharon Creech’s Moo, twelve-year-old Reena’s unemployed journalist parents are ready to leave the city and start somewhere fresh. Where? “Maine!” Reena suggests. And so that’s where they go.

1. Why Maine?

SC: I am drawn to the ways in which we are shaped by people and by place. Four years ago my daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren made a “quality of life” move from Washington DC to coastal Maine, luring my husband and me there, too. Wow! We continue to inhale Maine and its charms (including the scent of cows).

2. Why did you choose to tell Reena’s story in verse?

SC: The form arrived this way, as a hybrid: moving between verse and prose, reflecting Reena’s varying moods and tones. Sometimes she is lyrical, sometimes more prosaic.

Creech_Moo3. You do some playing around with spacing, type sizes, etc. How did you decide when (and how much)?

SC: I let instinct rule, feeling that the “play” reflected Reena’s voice and personality.

4. In the end Reena, her brother Luke, and cranky neighbor Mrs. Falala made a great team. What do you think intergenerational friendship has to offer?

SC: So much, so much! In many of my books, I explore the ways in which grandparents or other older persons are shaped by the young, and the young are shaped by the old, in an evolving dance. In Moo, Mrs. Falala is softened by Reena and Luke, and in turn, Reena and Luke become not only good farmhands under Mrs. Falala’s tutelage, but they also become more empathetic toward her.

5. Do you think Zora the cow really was lonely?

SC: Yes, in a cowlike way.

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