By Author / Illustrator
Guppy Publishing Ltd
The Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week & The Times Children's Book of the Week
Louie doesn't have the best luck when it comes to nurturing small animals - not even lightning bugs, worms or goldfish. So when his father brings home a sickly newborn little donkey, he's determined to save him. Taking care of him helps Louie feel closer to brother Gus, who has just left home. Everyone worries that Winslow won't survive, especially Louie's quirky new friend, Nora. But as his bond with Winslow grows, surprising events prove that this fragile donkey - and Louie - are stronger than anyone could have imagined.
It was the midst of Winter, when night, like an unwelcome guest, came too early and stayed too long'. So starts Saving Winslow. Poetic as usual, Sharon Creech gives us a tale of a young boy becoming attached to a new pet - in this case, a mini donkey. Winslow's mother was so sick she was unable to care for her new born foal, so Louie's Dad rescued him. Louie spends a lot of time coaxing the young wobbly jack to suck milk to gain strength, but Louie does not live on a farm and soon the neighbours are complaining. The real kindness would be to return Winslow to Uncle Pete's farm, but Louie couldn't possibly do that after investing so much time and love into his new companion. But can a new friend help?
Although this is a donkey - not the most common of household pets - the problem is the same; loving a pet (or someone) so much you can't bear to let go. Should you have to make this difficult decision? This book aims to introduce this question into children's lives to help them prepare for or to deal with something they may be faced with in real life.
It is a gentle read one to one, or works equally as well as a class read. Either way, Saving Winslow opens up opportunities for discussion between children and children or child and adult. Sarah Horne's chapter heading illustrations of the miniature Winslow in different situations serve to amplify the difficulty anyone would face parting with such a beguiling character.
160 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Dawn Woods, librarian
Suggested Reading Age 7+