Saving Winslow – Sharon Creech – HarperCollins – Published 11 September 2018
Louie doesn’t have the best luck when it comes to nurturing small creatures. So when his father brings home a sickly newborn mini donkey, he’s determined to save him. He names him Winslow. Taking care of him helps Louie feel closer to his brother, Gus, who is far, far away in the army.
Everyone worries that Winslow won’t survive, especially Louie’s quirky new friend, Nora, who has experienced loss of her own. But as Louie’s bond with Winslow grows, surprising and life-altering events prove that this fragile donkey is stronger than anyone could have imagined.
A heartwarming story of a young donkey, the boy who is determined to save him, and the way in which small things can sometimes have the biggest impact. Lyrical and sweet, Saving Winslow is a simple but touching story for young and middle-grade readers.
When Louie is given another of his Uncle Pete’s orphan animals, a newborn donkey, everyone warns him not to get too attached, as it will probably die anyway. But there is something about the tiny, grey bundle that whispers to Louie that here is an animal who wants to survive, and Louie is determined to be the one to save him. So, Louie names him Winslow and begins raise him.
Short chapters, some no longer than half a page, make Saving Winslow a quick and easy book to fall into the rhythm of reading. These little chapters piece together a heartwarming story. Winslow and his gentle, bumbling antics can soften anything – the sadness and perpetual worry of Nora, Louie’s neighbour, who has faced her own losses and grief and is scared to form attachments, the girl troubles of Louie’s older friend, Mack, and especially the aching feeling Louie has when missing his brother, who is serving in the army.
These intertwining stories of friendship and family are perfectly offset against the story of a brave young donkey and the boy who cares for him. The prose is simple and the setting almost timeless, and so it is easy to see Saving Winslow becoming a much-loved favourite, sitting nicely alongside the writing of Kate DiCamillo and Katherine Applegate.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Children’s fiction – Middle-grade fiction.
Genre: Contemporary, Animals.
Themes: Animals, donkeys, friendships, attachment, family, caregiving, farm animals, community, neighbours, cohabitation.
Reading age guide: Ages 8-12.
Advisory: References to the death of animals, including some who are mauled by predator animals – vague descriptions. References to the death of a younger sibling.
Published: 11 September 2018 by HarperCollins.
Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook. 176 pages.