As I mentioned in another review, I read two radically different books this weekend. The first was Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteiu and the second, Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech. If you read my review of Boteiu’s book, you know that Creech and Boteiu have little to nothing in common with their themes in these two books.
Saving Winslow is a cute story about love and protection. You are dealing with the theme of “you get attached to something/someone and the leave.” There is a classical feeling to the writing style. You know it is “going to be okay” even though “scary things” are happening. Overall, I never felt the characters were “flushed out” but for the 8 to 11 crowd, it is not so much needed as it would be in an older novel.
Louie is a young boy who is not good at most things. Especially not as good as his older brother, Gus, who has just left for the army. (Sidebar, my middle nephew was recently deployed and his brothers are having troubles adjusting, so I felt for our narrator). One day his Uncle Pete (a friend of the family and not a biological uncle) has a LGD (a Little Gray Donkey) that needs help. Its mother has died and is not expected to live the night. But Louie knows if given the chance, he can make Winslow (as he dubs him) survive, as “little guys born too early and need help” should stick together. Through friendship (human and animal), Louie and Winslow grow and find out what they are the best at.
The book is simple, even simplistic, but not in any negative way. It is a cozy story with “tension” appropriate for all ages. Even the love story is “approved for all readers.” The idea of protection takes many forms: Louie’s parents at the hospital, Winslow’s actions, Louie taking care of Winslow and even Louie and his new friends helping/protecting each other and one LGD. It is a feel good book that will most likely become a favorite of your child.