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Saving Winslow ISBN: 9781913101145
Creech, Sharon and Horne, Sarah
Published by Guppy Books, 2020
A chapter book for newly confident readers, this story will appeal particularly to those who love animals and who have a sensitive nature. As always with this author, the emotions are real and the children taken straight from life. Louie is a quiet 10 year old who loves animals, but as his waifs and strays seem either to die or leave, he hasn’t had a lot of success with them. He was born two months early and knows that he had to have special care for a long time. This has given him an empathy with small hurting things, and when his dad comes along with a tiny, new-born mini donkey from Uncle Pete’s farm who is expected to die, Louie is determined to make him live. He is so determined that he lives in the basement downstairs with Winslow and is with him day and night, caring like a new mother. We also learn that Louie’s older brother, whom he adores, is now in the army, and the whole family miss him tremendously, Louie because he has always looked up to him and enjoyed Gus’s very different sporty, out-going personality so unlike his own. It takes a long time for Winslow to begin to show signs of living, but when he does, he becomes a delight to everyone who meets him, particularly Nora, a young girl with her own problems, one of which is that she is difficult because she believes that every thing she loves disappears, in particular her baby brother and her dog, both of whom have died. Louie understands her spiky-ness and takes her on rather like another of his foundlings. They become great friends over their love of Winslow. Trouble only starts when Winslow becomes a noisy youngster and his braying wakes the neighbours. When the family is told that the little donkey must be moved, Louie and Nora are bereft. It is Uncle Pete who finds the answer. After a fire in a neighbour’s home when Winslow’s braying wakes the neighbours so they are able to escape in time, it is realised that Winslow is a ‘guard donkey’ and that his braying happens when there is danger about. Back to Uncle Pete’s farm he is taken, where he can bray all he wants and will be a guard donkey to all the farm animals. The children will be able to see him any time. Louie is a warm, lovable character with lots of internal worries and concerns and some day he will make a great doctor or carer of some sort. His concern about his brother Gus who is showing signs of finding army life difficult is just another of his loving care for those around him. Beautifully and sensitively written, this book will be loved by many – this reviewer being one!
Age: 7+