Mo and Crow by Jo Kasch. Illus. by Jonathan Bentley
"I live alone and I like it that way!" says Mo to a Crow who seems determined to invade his privacy by pecking rocks out of his protective wall. But Mo, who lives on an isolated hill in a house by himself, is lonely. The persistent crow shows him that opening himself up to what is outside his wall can show him a whole new world. This is a powerful picture book about being alone and how much effort it can take for someone to accept friendship. Reaching out to make friends can be one of the most difficult things for some children to do and this story tries to assist them to understand how people build walls to protect their feelings from being hurt by others.
The author Jo Kasch is an award-winning television writer and editor with a love of television aimed at children and teens. She has teamed up with experienced illustrator and writer Jonathon Bentley who brings this story to life with his bright, vibrant watercolour and pencil images. I love the way the endpapers reflect the vast change in the view Mo has on the world once he dismantles his wall; the confined view of the rock wall at the front in contrast to the perception of light and freedom that finishes the book superbly. These endpapers could be used as a discussion point before and after reading the book to a class of children while the uncomplicated text will make it understandable to even the youngest listeners.
Themes: Friendship, Loneliness, Fear, Protection.