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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Mick's Moo is a children’s social issues picture book written by Angela DeRonde and illustrated by Alexey Chystikov. There was something definitely different about Mick that the other cows at the farm recognized right away. Mick was an energetic animal, full of spirit and zest for life; he wanted to and did do everything at an accelerated rate. He ate fast, gamboled around the fields at speeds more normal to horses than cows, and even bolted down his grass fast. He just couldn’t take it easy as a “normal” cow would. Worst of all, Mick’s moo was off, way off -- and it was unpredictable. Mick could cackle like a chicken or baa like a lamb, but a real, live authentic-sounding moo was just not in his repertoire. And the cows never seemed to warm to him because he was different. Even when he went out of his way to tell jokes, create contests, and try to be the life of the barnyard party. Then, one day, something happened.
Angela DeRonde’s Mick’s Moo features a young cow who’s definitely not like the others. He finds it so difficult when his attempts to fit in are repeatedly rebuffed. Kids also crave belonging, having friends, and feeling the safety and sense of security that being like their peers can give. What makes them different? It could be their weight or height; maybe they wear glasses or use a hearing aid -- any number of things could cause a kid to seem or feel different from the others in class or on the playground. DeRonde’s story is directed both to them and their peers. Mick’s story highlights the fact that being different is not bad; it’s really rather special, as Mick and the barnyard animals finally discover. Alexey Chystikov’s bright and funny illustrations do a grand job of making the hapless and hyper-active Mick come to life. I especially appreciated the facial expressions he gives to Mick, and the nighttime scenes are exceptionally well done. Mick’s Moo is most highly recommended.