A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Saving Winslow is an empathetic, heartwarming story about love, loss, and compassion by Sharon Creech (Walk Two Moons). The unpredictability of loss is a key theme: Louie defies skeptics to try to save the life of a frail donkey. He's well aware of how often animals die at his uncle's farm, and his friend Nora is deeply wounded by the death of her infant brother and her dog. Louie's family deeply misses his brother, who's in the Army and sends only brief messages home. His older friend is "lovesick" and happily reports "smooching" with a girl.
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What's the story?
Louie, 10, has a lousy track record of caring for animals before he takes on the mission of SAVING WINSLOW. No one expects the fragile newborn donkey to survive except Louie, who carefully tends to Winslow day and night. Caring for Winslow helps ease his heartache over his beloved brother, who's away in the Army. Louie develops a close bond with Winslow as the donkey grows stronger. His new friend, Nora, is drawn to Winslow as well but worries he'll die, just like her premature baby brother and her dog.
Is it any good?
Sharon Creech is a master at delivering emotionally rich prose in deceptively slight packages, and is at her best in this touching story of a boy who gives everything he's got to help a baby donkey. Saving Winslow unfolds through small, meaningful moments: coaxing Winslow to take a bottle, struggling to give him shots, dealing with a neighbor exasperated by the braying. The modest ways Louie's family tries to fill the absence left by his brother, Gus, are especially sweet.
Newbery medalist Creech (Moo) writes in spare but vivid prose, drawing clear lines to connect themes and layers of meaning. Lovely writing, a charming story, appealing characters, and short chapters make it a winning read.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why so many people think caution against trying to help the frail donkey in Saving Winslow, warning Louie he'll probably be sad. Do you try to avoid things that make you feel sad? Is feeling sad always a bad thing?
Do you think you're an optimist or a pessimist? What experiences might have shaped your outlook?
Is being realistic the same as being pessimistic?
- Author: Sharon Creech
- Genre: Animals
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Horses and Farm Animals
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
- Publication date: September 11, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 176
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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For kids who love family stories and grief tales
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