At the Wrens’ new place, things are very different. The name of the street—East 213th—has absolutely zero magic. And there’s no Mrs. Petrone to cut her hair, no Pi Baggott to teach her how to skateboard, no Green Kingdom to explore. She’s having trouble fitting in at her new school and spending a lot of time using the corner bus shelter for her Thinking Spot. Worst of all, Mo discovers that the ramshackle restaurant Mr. Wren bought is cursed. Only Dottie, with her new friends and pet lizard, Handsome, is doing the dance of joy.
For the first time in her life, Mo feels lost and out of place. It’s going to take a boy who tells whoppers, a Laundromat with a mysterious owner, a freak blizzard, and some courage to help her find her way home for good. After living her entire life on Fox Street, eleven-year-old Mo Wren must adjust to her new life—living in an apartment on East 213th Street, above the “cursed” Corky’s Tavern.
Mo Wren, Lost and Found is the follow-up to the first book in this series called What Happened on Fox Street. It has been three years since Mo and Wild Child Dottie’s mother died in a car accident. Dad has decided the time has arrived to pursue his dream of owning and running a restaurant—something he has no experience doing. The house went unsold for a long time, but it too decided it was time to move on when a new family bought the house, sending Mo and her sister, and dad from Fox Street to 213th Street.
Mo is genuinely unhappy moving from her beloved Fox Street to an apartment above a closed and run-down Corky’s Tavern. The old tavern is to become the new Wren House with Chef Wren proprietor. If Mo did not like this idea when first told about it, she definitely does not like it when she realizes the place is cursed. Mo is having an equally hard time at her new school. She spends a good amount of her time sitting in the corner bus stop shelter—her new Thinking Spot. Little sister Dottie is adjusting much easier. She has new friends, her pet lizard Handsome, and seems to be happy.
I did not read the first edition in this series, yet that had no bearing on this story. Actually, I had no idea this was book two of anything, until I went looking for a cover picture. I like a series written so you can read book two, without needing to reference book one and the story gels. Explained early in the book is the tragic death of mom in a car accident. That tragedy is the catalyst behind the drastic change of living conditions. Three years later, Mo lets us know how life on Fox Street has molded her and the degree to which she is going to miss her life there.
I never understood why the family was moving. I thought maybe dad was having his midlife crisis and abruptly shifting course to fulfill a long held dream of owning his own restaurant. The nearest I can figure, Dad finds it difficult to live in the house without his wife and needs a change in order to move on with his life. Mo is despondent over leaving the only neighborhood she has known. To her, the entire dead-end street was her living room and all the occupants close friends. She carries this with her to her new school and new neighborhood¸ finding herself on the outside of things for the very first time.
The writer has done a great job with the characters. Each character is well defined and has a distinctive voice, making it easy to pick out their dialogue, often without the use of a tag. The characters are kind of crazy. The Soap Opera Laundromat owner silently becomes a rock for Mo, and Shawn a new best friend. And . . . if I tell you any more I might ruin it, and that would be a terrible thing.
This is a wonderful story of lost and found, and knowing what each of those words mean. The magic in this story is the kind made when the writer develops great characters, puts them in a believable tale, and then lets them loose to tell that tale. I hope a third book is coming for this series. There seems to be more stories on 213th street left to tell. Mo Wren, Lost and Found is a great book for girls, and there is much in it for boys, too.
Author: Tricia Springstubb Illustrator: Heather Ross Publisher: Balzer + Bray Release Date: August 23,2011 Number of Pages: 248 ISBN: 978-0-06-199039-7 AGes 8+