"AWAY TO ME, MOSS" by Betty Levin


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Levin (Starshine and Sunglow, p. 702, etc.) can be relied on for multidimensional stories. Here, while Zanna's life is on hold during her parents' trial separation, the 10-year-old finds solace in learning the ways of a working Border collie. Moss, the sheepdog, is also neglected by a family under stress. After a stroke, his master, Rob Catherwood, can no longer handle sheep, and Moss is tied in the barn. Zanna had hoped for one of Moss's pups, but since money is short in both families this isn't possible. Still, with Rob's granddaughter's help and despite opposition by the adults, she learns to work Moss with the Catherwood sheep, gradually gaining his confidence and expanding her own. When Dad finds a job out West, Zanna's family plans to reunite, and she must leave Moss. Still, her perseverance has played a part in Rob's partial recovery. In an ingenious denouement, the inarticulate old man contrives to keep Moss, while Zanna has hopes of visits to come. Levin sketches adult problems adroitly to suggest that the Catherwood family is nurturing and richly diverse while never losing focus on Zanna and Moss. The fascinating sheep-herding action is written with authority as Levin, herself an expert, conveys her enthusiasm in scenes rivaling the best sports writing. A thoughtful, satisfying novel; wayward, gifted Moss is entrancing.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Greenwillow