Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech

Saving Winslow

By Sharon Creech

Joanna Cotler Books (Imprint HarperCollins) Fiction, Sep. 11, 2018

Suitable for Ages: 8-12

Pages: 176

Themes: Donkey, Rescue, Farm Animals, Loss, Friendship, Neighbors

OpeningIn the laundry basket on the kitchen floor was a lump.  “Another dead thing?” Louie asked.  “Not yet,” his father said.


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, Louie lifts the donkey from the basket and holds it close. The donkey nuzzles his neck and makes a small sound that sounds like please. He’s determined to save him.  Louie names him Winslow. Taking care of the donkey helps Louie feel closer to his brother, Gus, who is  far away in the army.

Everyone worries that Winslow won’t survive, especially Louie’s new friend, Nora, who has experienced a 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.

Written in the spirit of Creech favorites Moo and Love That Dog, this standout tale about love and friendship and letting go will tug at the heartstrings.

Why I like this book:

Sharon Creech’s storytelling is so sweet and full of heart. Although her novel is about a boy saving a donkey, there are other themes cleverly woven throughout the story — a boy struggling to find his purpose, a girl who has felt loss and is afraid to get close to Winslow, and a family dealing with a son serving his country overseas. Winslow unites the family.

Louie is such a kind-hearted and determined character. After holding the donkey, he immediately accepts “the mission” to do everything in his power to save the newborn donkey’s life — even when his parents and friends are skeptical the donkey will survive a day, let alone a week. He holds the donkey tight to his chest and rubs him with a blanket begging Winslow to live. Nora is a quirky character. She thinks Winslow is “icky,” looks like a possum-goat and doesn’t see the point in becoming attached to a donkey that’s going to die anyway. Yet she sure spends a lot of time around Winslow.

Animals lovers will treasure Winslow’s story. The plot is convincing, the text is spare and it is a quick read. It is a story that can be read out loud to younger children. Visit Creech at her website.

Sharon Creech has written 21 books for young people and is published in over 20 languages. She is the author of the Newbery Medal winner Walk Two Moons and the Newbery Honor Book The Wanderer. Her other work includes the novels Hate That Cat, The Castle Corona, Replay, Heartbeat, Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, Ruby Holler, Love That Dog, Bloomability, Absolutely Normal Chaos, Chasing Redbird, and Pleasing the Ghost, as well as three picture books: A Fine, Fine School; Fishing in the Air; and Who’s That Baby? Ms. Creech and her husband live in upstate New York.

Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.

*Library copy.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

30 thoughts on “Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech

  1. Not sure this one will see the light of day at my house… Mom is afraid to read any book where the animal might have the slightest chance of dying. Sounds like a good story to me, but….. Nope!

    Love and licks,


  2. This book sounds great! I have read and loved several of Sharon Creech’s books, and it sounds like this one is as complex and great as her others! Thanks so much for the review!


    • You can’t go wrong with Sharon Creech! This is a moving story about a young boy’s determination, helps the tiny newborn donkey live. Sharon was going to write about a lamb, but her granddaughter was writing a book about a lamb, so she chose a donkey, which really added to this lively story.


  3. This one sounds like a heart-tugger, for sure. As a big fan of Sharon Creech’s work, I can’t wait to check this one book out. Thanks for the recommendation, Patricia!


  4. I have yet to read this one but your thoughts convinces me I must take care of this omission soon. Sharon Creech has always been a favorite of mine. A boy and a donkey is the perfect set-up for her style of writing. Thanks for telling us about it.


  5. Ahhh, I love animal stories. I used to be a MAJOR animal lover when I was younger and I still hold a soft spot for them in my heart. They’re so much more similar and empathetic than we realize! I love heartwarming stories like these, and it sounds like the characters are lovable too! Thanks for the review!


  6. This looks like a good length for some of my more reluctant middle grade readers. I am a sucker for animal survival stories (and Sharon Creech’s work) so I am sure I would love this myself.


  7. I love stories about rescued animals. My dog is a rescue dog so they hit home. Choosing a donkey instead of a cat or dog would make this book even more special. I know a certain little girl who would just love this story. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Happy New Year, Patricia.


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