Title: Mo and Crow
Author: Jo Kasch
Illustrator: Jonathan Bentley
Published: March 2021
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Readership: Children’s Picturebook
I received a copy of Mo and Crow from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Mo lives alone and he likes it that way…until Crow comes into his small and tidy life offering friendship. A gorgeous picture book with a powerful message.
He had a house to protect him.
And a wall.
Mo trusted his wall.
It kept everything out he wanted kept out.
A beautiful story about breaking down barriers and discovering the joys of friendship, from the brilliant creative team of Jo Kasch and award-winning illustrator Jonathan Bentley.
There’s a beautiful power that picturebooks have in taking real world issues and unpacking them for a younger audience in such a gentle way that it takes you a moment to realise the truth of what it’s trying to do. Mo and Crow is one of those books.
Mo is an older man living alone behind a huge brick wall that he’s built. He loves his home and his wall, and he’s comfortable without seeing beyond it, until the day that Crow comes along to poke holes in his wall. Mo is forced to see the outside world and comes to discover that it’s not quite as scary as he thinks.
Mo and Crow are an odd couple, but make for a delightful reading experience. They both have enormous personality, thanks to the combination of smart, funny writing and gorgeously expressive illustrations that help these two characters leap off the page.
As an adult reading the book, the allegorical nature of the story – breaking down walls – is apparent but leaves itself open for lots of wonderful discussions with younger readers. Why does Mo build a wall in the first place? Why would Crow want to break it down? What could Mo see/do/etc on the other side of the wall? How does it life change afterwards? While Jo Kasch has her own inspiration for Mo’s wall, it would be incredibly powerful to find out what children think might have been the reason.
Overall, this was delightful and fun. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read it and can’t wait to share it with my students soon.