The Adventures of Mo
November 20, 2022
Amazon | Goodreads | Author’s Website (free download)
About The Adventures of Mo
The Adventures of Mo is about an American Eskimo dog named Mo and a bird named Finchy that travel to each US state searching for the owner of a lost key who lives in Florida. But where is Florida? Each chapter reflects an adventure in a different state, touches upon state geography/history, and introduces cardinal directions. Readers guess which state the main characters are visiting based on clues in each chapter.
This is a do-good project. While anyone can download the chapters for FREE on our website, small donations ($1-$2) are requested. The version available on Amazon includes a supplement that is not available on our website. Half of all net proceeds are donated to animal charities and children’s literacy programs nationwide, while the remaining half sustains the series.
I like the concept of this book. Introducing kids to US geography in a silly, fun adventure between a bird and a dog is a cool idea.
While I like that the goal is for readers to guess which state Mo and Finchy are in using clues from the text, I found myself wishing each chapter had a recap at the end. A recap could highlight the geographical references and show a simple map of the state with Mo and Fincy’s route. An alternative might be to include back matter with a summary of geographical information for each chapter and a large map showing Mo and Finchy’s route from start to finish.
Most characters in the book are animals, but a few humans are included in the story. One is Jason, a man who is blind and uses a service dog. There’s also the truck driver, Alex. In a couple of scenes, the story explores the history of indigenous people in the different states where Mo and Finchy are. I don’t have the expertise to evaluate the representation, but a couple of things left me a little uncomfortable. In one scene, Mo and Finchy meet the god of wind, Gaol, who tells them to call him Jay, since his name is “too hard to pronounce.” Other character names were accompanied by phonetic pronunciation guides, so I thought it was a little odd that this one wasn’t.
The historical references in the book are pretty sanitized, probably for the book’s younger audiences. There were a couple of things I felt would have been better with a little added context or perhaps left out. One other historical note: slavery and the Civil War are not mentioned at all in the book.
On the whole, I think the concept here is very cute. The narrative is often playful and silly and includes nearly fantastical elements, such as Mo dressing up as a human so he can get into places where animals aren’t allowed. I think young readers would get a big kick out of the main characters, even if they aren’t familiar with the geographical hints placed throughout. The episodic chapters make it easy to read the book in chunks– a must since the whole thing is almost 500 pages.
Recommended for Ages 6 to 10.
Mo and Finchy meet an armadillo who speaks Spanish. Some images show Indigenous people in what are supposed to be ceremonial clothes. They also meet a service dog who helps a blind man.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mo develops a crush on another dog named Maggie.
Mo and Finchy briefly meet the Iroquois god of wind, Gaol. They also encounter beings called the Voices, which come from the moon and travel the galaxy, a family of Sasquatch, and a Lochness monster.
Mo and some other animals intervene when two girls bully another girl.
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