Review Blog

Mar 29 2018

Mr Mo starts to grow by Laura Stitzel

cover image

Lothian, 2018. ISBN 9780734417718
(Age: 4+) Themes: Humour. Monsters. Growing up. Friendship. Change. Toys. Jane and her squishy soft toy, Mr Mo, do everything together. They play together and run outside, take risks, make mischief, make up songs, play a little magic, in fact spend all day long together. That is until Mr Mo starts to grow. One day he notices that he has become quite large, and so hides away. Jane looks everywhere for him, in the lane, by the woods, under the bed, in the kitchen cupboard, but he is very well hidden and very sad.
Children will instantly recognise the toy as he tries to hide, calling out with glee, alerting Jane to his hiding place. The warm illustrations show a variety of poses for the soft toy, endearing the animal to the readers.
But one night during a thundery storm, Jane misses her soft toy. She hears the door creak open and footsteps cross the room and head for the space beneath her bed. She peers under her bed and finds Mr Mo, shivering and quaking in fright. Jane is elated to see him and knows just what to do to alleviate his fears, and they go on to make some mischief, making sure they are always together.
This is an allegorical look at children growing up, of losing the need for a soft toy to be with them when they go to bed or are frightened. Many children will equate the story to some toy they had in the past, now no longer around, or given to a younger sibling, sitting in a cupboard or just thrown away.
But whatever happens that toy is always there, even if only in a memory, ready to offer comfort when the child is frightened or in need of a friend. The reading of the book will lead on to many discussions about the role of toys in a child's life, and would be an impetus for children bringing their soft toys in to develop a display in the library.
Fran Knight

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