Published by Joanna Cotler Books
Summary: When Louie’s dad brings home a sickly newborn donkey whose mother has died, no one has much confidence that it will pull through. No one, that is, except Louie, who doesn’t let his past bad luck with keeping other animals alive stand in the way of devoting himself to his new pet. Naming the donkey Winslow, he moves into the basement to sleep next to the baby, teaching him to drink from a bottle and getting up for midnight feedings. There’s a new girl in the neighborhood, the quirky but endearing Nora, who takes an interest in Winslow and tentatively begins to help out. Both Louie and Nora are dealing with loss–Louie’s older brother has recently left home to join the army and Nora lost her premature baby brother–and sometimes their struggles get in the way of their friendship. But Winslow manages to bring them together. When he gets big enough to move back to the farm where he was born, it’s clear that a lasting bond has been forged between the two kids and their donkey. 176 pages; grades 3-6.
Pros: Sharon Creech packs a pretty big emotional punch in 176 pages. The short chapters and small pages keep the book moving along quickly, and would make it a great choice for a read-aloud or a first “real” chapter book.
Cons: The fire scene toward the end seemed a little bit contrived to me.