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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Baby Moo’s Great Escape is a children’s book written and illustrated by Julie Flanders. Baby Moo is a young bull who lives with many animals at Sunrise Sanctuary in Marysville. Baby Moo’s favorite hobbies are to sing and to read travel magazines. When he sees a picture of the Sydney Opera House, Baby Moo is determined to go to Australia to practice his singing. Knowing that it is a crazy idea, Baby Moo’s best friends, Ruthie (an orange tabby cat) and Missy (a nervous corgi who had been rescued from a puppy mill) try desperately to talk Baby Moo into staying at the sanctuary, but Baby Moo’s jealousy of Sunrise Sanctuary’s newest arrival, a piglet named Baby Nathan who had survived a truck crash, causes Baby Moo to want to be anywhere else. When Baby Moo leaves, Ruthie and Missy follow him, until they are confronted by an evil cattle thief who kidnaps Baby Moo after kicking both Ruthie and Missy hard. While all three animals utilize every single skill they can muster in order to set Baby Moo free, in trying to rescue her bovine friend, Missy breaks her leg. Aided by new squirrel friend, Bobby, who had also grown up at Sunrise Sanctuary, the three animals soon escape and manage to find a vet who can help Missy. So much trouble and mayhem had been caused by Baby Moo out of sheer jealousy, but he feels bad and has learned his lesson, vowing never to do it again.
The first word that came to my mind after reaching the end of this book: OUTSTANDING! Julie Flanders not only has the knack of telling a wonderful fable, teaching many lessons in the process about jealousy, standing up for and defending your friends and helping those in need, but also has an artistic flair which helped bring the story to life beautifully. Everything about Baby Moo’s Great Escape screams ‘Animal Welfare,’ bringing attention to the horrific effects that puppy mills have on dogs, hoarders have on rescue animals, and the trauma suffered by animals who survive traffic accidents. The woman who runs the sanctuary has the respect, love and affection of each of the animals, as she obviously puts their needs ahead of her own in every way, ensuring they are very well taken care of. This teaches a child at a very young age that animals have feelings and need to be nurtured and loved. I very much enjoyed Baby Moo’s Great Escape and look forward to reading Julie Flanders’ next book, knowing that it will be filled with much love, heart, and strength, all bundled up in a perfect educational package for children. This book would be ideally stocked in school, home and kindergarten libraries, as well as in animal shelters worldwide.