Books by Sharon Creech

SAVING WINSLOW by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 11, 2018

"Another outstanding and unforgettable story that will work well both as a read-aloud for younger listeners and as a rich offering for those recently transitioned to chapter books. (Fiction. 7-12)"
Louie, a remarkably optimistic 10-year-old, takes on the rearing of a fragile, newborn mini donkey whose mother is too sick to care for it. Read full book review >
MOO by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 30, 2016

"Fans of Love That Dog (2001) and Hate That Cat (2010) will find much to love in this story of a girl, a cow, and so much more. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Newbery Medalist Creech touches on themes of loss, friendship, and belonging in this appealing tale of a young girl's unlikely relationship with Zora, an enormous belted Galloway. Read full book review >
THE BOY ON THE PORCH by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 3, 2013

"A graceful, profound story for all ages that speaks well beyond its intended audience. (Fiction. 8 & up)"
In a book world crowded with overwrought shock-fluff stories, this quiet novel sings. Read full book review >
THE GREAT UNEXPECTED by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 4, 2012

"An enchanting tale to treasure in which ordinary folk find fairies' gold, run across crooked bridges and mend their broken hearts. (Fiction. 8-12)"
When Finn falls out of a tree and into the life of Naomi, he brings more than a touch of Ireland's magic. Read full book review >
THE UNFINISHED ANGEL by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

A small village in Switzerland's Italian-speaking region of Ticino provides the perfect background for this endearing contemporary fable, told in 44 brief, often comical chapters. When a young American named Zola comes to live in the house attached to the tower where an angel has sojourned for hundreds of years, things get lively. The angel's narrative voice is earnest, often puzzled and frequently indignant. Full of mixed appreciation for and apprehension about human beings, it is filled with phonemic mix-ups, word coinage, inverted grammar and nonsense that soars and fizzes, giving the impression of a goodhearted and slightly zany transcendence. Helping a ragtag bunch of homeless runaways sheltering in a chicken shed becomes Zola's project for the angel, while Zola's father begins work on his dream of creating an international peace school. Everyone—the orphans, Signora Divino (the cranky widow next door), Zola's father, even the incessantly barking dog—is on the way to redemption by the end. Brimful of grace and cheer; moving, funny and sweet—and begging to be read aloud. (Fiction. 8-11)Read full book review >
HATE THAT CAT by Sharon Creech
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

Newbery Medalist Creech continues the story of budding poet Jack in this sequel that, as is often the case with sequels, never quite captures the magic of the initial volume, 2001's Love That Dog. Jack is starting a new school year, moving up to the next grade along with his perceptive teacher, Miss Stretchberry. As in its predecessor, Jack's poems respond to well-known works studied in class and to Miss Stretchberry's insightful comments. She encourages Jack to stretch in his writing and to continue to examine buried feelings about his dog and, this year, about his mother as well. The titular cat that Jack dislikes is a mean neighborhood cat, but he changes his mind about felines when he gets a kitten as a Christmas present. The growth in Jack's writing is evident as the year progresses, and he learns more about the elements of poetry (though some of his poems and responses veer off a little too far into Englishmajorland). Teachers will welcome both Jack's poems and Creech's embedded writing lessons. (appendix, bibliography) (Fiction/poetry. 9-12) Read full book review >
THE CASTLE CORONA by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 2, 2007

Long ago and far away a royal pouch was dropped in the woods; King Guido became afraid of thieves and poisoners; the peasant children Enzio and Pia became tasters for the king's family; and the contents of the pouch they found revealed their true identities. This lengthy original fairy tale is immensely satisfying both in its telling and its presentation. Each of the three sections begins with a full-page color illustration and each chapter with decorated initial letters and a miniature suggesting the subject. Heavy paper and relatively large, leaded type are two of many sumptuous details that continue throughout. Told in a comforting storyteller's voice (perhaps that of Pia, inspired by the royal family's Wordsmith), the tale unfolds leisurely, with considerable attention to the royal surroundings. Characters are clearly delineated, with the suggestion that all of them, the king and queen, the heir, the spare prince and the spoiled princess, as well as the peasant children, have grown and changed as a result of the events described. A treat for fans of the genre as well as a captivating introduction to it. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
REPLAY by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 27, 2005

One of four children in a large, chaotic Italian-American family, 12-year-old Leo is nicknamed "sardine" because he once said he felt squished like one, and occasionally "fog boy" because he slips into thoughtful trances where he "replays" life's disappointing scenarios. Papa says Leo can make "gold from pebbles," and indeed, in Leo's amusingly grandiose imaginings, readers will behold the often-stumbling, invisible-feeling boy emerge as the Nobel Prize winner or famous actor he was (possibly) born to be. When Leo gets the part of "old crone" in the school play, he analyzes that character, but more important, he examines his own life's role, and that of his once-vivacious, now distant father. In this warm, funny, philosophical novel, Creech cleverly juxtaposes life and stage life, complete with a cast of characters, short chapters listed as scenes and pieces of dialogue recorded as script. By the end, Leo knows life can't be scripted, that he wouldn't want it to be, that "dorky, little nobody kids" (not that he is one) can become "amazing grown-ups" and that improvisation is key. (complete script of the school play) (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
WHO’S THAT BABY? by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

Except for the first and last entries, Creech writes all of these poems in first-person baby's voice. They are clearly really written for parents and grandparents and they are pretty gooey: "A tisket, a tasket / a baby in the basket! / I'm so snug / and I'm so warm / I'm so cute / I'm just born!" There are verses about swaddled babies, "Baby Burrito," "Banana Baby," ditties about daddies, moms and "Two Big Grandmas." Newbery Medal-winner Creech is a new grandmother, but she never rises to the lovely levels of Stephanie Calmenson's Welcome, Baby! (2002) or Cynthia Rylant's Good Morning Sweetie Pie (2001). Diaz's artwork, however, is just gorgeous. Using his extraordinary mastery of pattern, his babies and their relatives look like stained-glass figures or hieratic saints. The colors glow and the shapes, held by his sinuous line and ensorcelled by floral, marine, astral and geometric designs, are a wonder. (Picture book. 1-3)Read full book review >
HEARTBEAT by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2004

Creech's brief, light, gracefully constructed portrait of Annie, who loves running and who never seems to miss a step, is readable and appealing in poetry form. Annie throws herself whole-heartedly into drawing, running barefoot in all seasons around her rural town, and observing the world. Intertwined stories about changes in Annie's world include the wait for and birth of her new sibling, her beloved grandfather's memory lapses, her best friend's ambition to win a cross-country race. Contained, pleasing glimpses into a perceptive child's mind, though without strong emotional resonance in the trajectory of the story: most readers will be unable to match Annie's sure sense of self at 12 ("I don't want to run in a herd"). Still, Annie leaves an impression of a cherished, familiar friend. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
GRANNY TORRELLI MAKES SOUP by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

Soup and pasta, that is. The preparation of the two dinners forms the structure for this loose little treatment in which 12-year-old Rosie works out her changing relationship with Bailey, the proverbial boy-next-door. The reader meets Rosie and her Granny as they slice and chop, Granny's penetrating questions and stories of her youth leading narrator Rosie to reflect in short vignettes on her lifelong friendship and on her current pre-adolescent difficulties. The scenario is repeated the following week, only now Bailey himself becomes part of the cooking crew, clearly benefiting as much from Granny's well-timed pauses as Rosie. Rosie's present-tense voice is fresh and young, with an ingenuous turn of phrase. The structure mitigates significant plot development, however: readers are presented with a situation—Bailey and Rosie redefine their childhood friendship—which is resolved ever-so-neatly, thanks to Granny's remarkably parallel stories and a few pinches of garlic. Full of good humor and aromatic seasonings, this offering nevertheless may not stick to the ribs. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
RUBY HOLLER by Sharon Creech
ADVENTURE
Released: April 1, 2002

The trouble twins, Dallas and Florida, are given the opportunity to take a three-month vacation from the horrible orphanage that has been home. An elderly couple, Sairy and Tiller of Ruby Holler, wants help. Tiller would like to build a boat and explore the river Rutabago with Florida, while Sairy dreams of visiting far-off Kangadoon to see a red-tailed rocking bird, but needs Dallas's assistance. Dreamy Dallas and Feisty Florida have always counted on each other and dread parting. As the twins naturally strew trouble wherever they go, they also reveal the horrors of their past—but gradually, all four characters draw together. The charm of Sairy's acceptance of whatever awful thing the twins do is matched by her desire to see what she's like when Tiller isn't there. Despite ominous signs that the separation of both pairs may be dire, they persist. Adding tension, Mr. and Mrs. Trepid, who run the nursing home, hire Z (their only Ruby Holler neighbor) to discover the buried funds that will finance the upcoming expeditions. Tiller, is a grumbler, but it only hides his soft heart. Dallas and Florida both have a hard time believing that anywhere in the universe can be as wonderful as Ruby Holler, and they try to remain committed to their original plan to catch the freight train and escape. Various tidbits about the origins of the twins tumble into the plot in haphazard ways, developing that mystery. Such charm and humor is encapsulated in this romp with its melodramatic elements of treasure and orphans, that it feels perfectly reasonable to want it to go on and see what happens next. Creech ends with the readers more in the know than the characters concerned, making for a slightly unsatisfying finish. Still: an altogether engaging outing. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
A FINE, FINE SCHOOL by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2001

School can be peachy, but that doesn't mean time away from school isn't just as valuable, which is the lesson Principal Keene has to learn in this charming story of a school administrator utterly rapt in his job. Mr. Keene just can't get enough of his fine school with all that fine learning being taught by the fine teachers to the fine students. So he decides to have school on Saturday, then Sunday, then on holidays, then the whole year through: "He was so proud of the students and the teachers, of all the learning they were doing every day." Literally. But the students and teachers aren't so sanguine about the situation, though no one wanted to prick Mr. Keene's balloon. Until Tillie finally tells him that some others are not learning because of all the school, like her dog, who hasn't learned how to sit, or her little brother, who hasn't learned how to swing or skip, because she's never home to teach them. Indeed, she hasn't learned to climb a tree for all the classroom time she's been putting in. Mr. Keene sees the light, beveling his enthusiasm and putting his good intentions into perspective. Creech's text capably moves the story forward, but it has all the humor of a stoat and the repetitions are overmuch. Yet Bliss (Girl of the Shining Mountain, 1999, etc.) comes through not just to save the day, but to make the story memorable, with appealing characters and numerous silly sight gags and verbal asides, like the post-it notes that read "Massive Quiz Saturday" and "Power Nap 2 pm," the photo in the kid's locker from his parents signed "We Miss You Son!" and the TV screen that reads "The Best Cartoons in the World Start in 5 Minutes!!" just as Tillie is shuffling out the door to school on Christmas. Just fine. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
LOVE THAT DOG by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2001

Versatile Newbery Medalist Creech (A Fine, Fine School, p. 862, etc.) continues to explore new writing paths with her latest, written as free verse from the viewpoint of a middle-school boy named Jack. Creech knows all about reluctant writers from her own years of teaching, and she skillfully reveals Jack's animosity toward books and poetry, and especially about writing his own poems. He questions the very nature of poetry, forcing the reader to think about this question, too. Jack's class assignments incorporate responses to eight well-known poems (included in an appendix) and gradually reveal the circumstances, and Jack's hidden feelings, about the loss of his beloved dog. Jack's poetry grows in length, complexity, and quality from September to May, until he proudly sends his best poem about his dog and a heartfelt thank-you poem to Walter Dean Myers after the author's school visit. The inclusion of the eight poems is an advantage, because comments on the poems are often part of Jack's poetry. Others not already familiar with these famous poems, though, might miss the allusions in Jack's work. (There is no note at the beginning of the book to point the reader to the appendix.) But it's a quick read, offering a chance to go back and look again. Teachers will take this story to heart, recognizing Miss Stretchberry's skilled and graceful teaching and Jack's subtle emotional growth both as a person and a writer. This really special triumph is bound to be widely discussed by teachers and writers, and widely esteemed by Creech's devoted readers. (Fiction/poetry. 9-13)Read full book review >
FISHING IN THE AIR by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 30, 2000

A father shows his son how to "catch" something far better than fish in Newbery-winner Creech's (The Wanderer, p. 379, etc.) first picture book. The young narrator recalls an outing—a journey, as his father promises, to a secret place that turns out to be a riverbank where bubbles of breeze, slices of sun, and vivid memories of another boy and another time hover, waiting to be pulled in on the child's hookless fish line. With dancing swirls and dabs of color, bodies arching across spreads as gracefully as dolphins, and images of past and present flowing together, Raschka (Ring! Yo?, 306, etc.) exuberantly echoes and amplifies the intensity of the shared experience. At the father's suggestions, streetlights become tiny moons; trees in a row transform into soldiers; and recollections of a boyhood home, other fields, and another father swim into view. Creech's prose is rich in flowing rhythms, tinged with sentiment, and no less replete with evocative images than the pictures. " ‘Oh,' my father said again. / ‘Where is that father / and that boy?' / I reeled in my line. / ‘Right here,' I said, / and he turned to look at me, / as I cast my line again / so high, so far." A rare episode, with layers of meaning for readers of several generations. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
BLOOMABILITY by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 30, 1998

Creech (Chasing Redbird, 1997, etc.) plies the threads of love and loss, separation and belonging, into another deeply felt novel; while it is no sin for a writer to repeatedly explore such themes, a certain sameness is descending upon her books. Dinnie Santolina, 13, loves her family, even though her father is always in search of the next irresistible opportunity and her mother is happy to follow him. But when brother Crick finally gets into enough trouble to go to jail and sister Stella comes home at 16 both married and pregnant, Dinnie finds herself quite suddenly in Switzerland, where Uncle Max is the new headmaster at an international American school. Dinnie has had a lot of experience being the stranger, but here, with her warm and charming aunt and uncle, and among students of many nationalities, she explores the meaning of home through her dreams, the mountains, forests, and towns near Lake Lugano, and a curriculum where her classmates decide that thinking really is homework. She becomes friends with Lila, whose erratic behavior mirrors even more erratic parents, Keisuke, whose fractured English paints word-pictures ("bloomable" for possible), his Spanish girlfriend Belen, and the irrepressible Guthrie, who delights in all things. Metaphors mixed in several languages, dream images of snow and distance, and the bittersweet terrors of adolescence will keep readers turning the pages and regretful to reach the last one. (Fiction. 9-14) Read full book review >
CHASING REDBIRD by Sharon Creech
ANIMALS
Released: March 31, 1997

A teenager lost in the maelstrom of her large Virginia- mountain family devises a personal walkabout when she takes on the project of single-handedly rehabilitating a 20-mile-long wilderness trail. Until recently, Zinnia Taylor, 13, spent a lot of time in the ``Quiet Zone'' of Aunt Jessie and Uncle Nate's house next door. But Aunt Jessie has died, and Uncle Nate remains bereft. Calling her his Redbird, he spends most of his time chasing through the woods, believing he is in pursuit of her. Adding to Uncle Nate and Zinny's burden is the death of her cousin, Rose, who died of the whooping cough when she and Zinny were both four. Amidst this pain, Zinny is looking for a place to call her own, for a sense of who she is, and for someone—anyone—who cares about her ``most.'' The plotting can become capricious in the extreme, but Creech (Pleasing the Ghost, 1996, etc.) crams her novel full of wonderful characters, proficient dialogue, bracing descriptions, and a merry use of language. A bundle of contradictions, Zinny is at her prickly, individualistic best when fending off the overtures of 16-year-old Jake Boone, whom she (mistakenly) suspects of using her to get to her older sister. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
PLEASING THE GHOST by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 30, 1996

For readers younger than the audience for Creech's other novels (Absolutely Normal Chaos, 1995, etc.), an entertaining story with modest aspirations. Dennis, whose father recently died, is visited by the ghost of Uncle Arvie, who wants Dennis to perform three tasks for him. As the result of a stroke Uncle Arvie suffered while he was alive, he can only communicate in a system of nonsense words—``yin'' for yes, ``pepperoni'' as the name of Dennis's father (Uncle Arvie's brother), ``Heartfoot'' for Uncle Arvie's wife, etc.—that will tax readers as it leads Dennis, eventually, to a lost letter, lost painting, and buried treasure for his aunt. This featherweight fantasy is mildly amusing, but those who have experienced the death of a parent may be pained by Dennis's hope, portrayed as a perfectly reasonable wish, that his father's ghost will visit him soon. Black-and-white chapter decorations further lighten the fare. (Fiction. 8-12) Read full book review >
ABSOLUTELY NORMAL CHAOS by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

Creech's first children's novel, published in England but never before in the US, will quickly make its way into the hands of readers who loved Walk Two Moons (1994). In Euclid, Ohio, Mary Lou Finney, 13, is constructing her complete and unabridged journal for English class. She observes in detail her large, rowdy, loving family and herself, falling in love, weathering the hot and cold winds of her friendship with Beth Ann, struggling to make sense of Homer's Odyssey and Frost's poetry, pondering fate when a neighbor dies suddenly, and learning to appreciate her taciturn live-in cousin, Carl Ray. Her voice rings 100 percent true, and although she has her serious moments, Mary Lou is a stitch. Much of the humor derives from Creech's playful use of language: When Mary Lou's mother forbids her using the words God, stupid, and stuff, Mary Lou makes a foray into the thesaurus with hilarious results. The plot takes unlikely turns, but Creech gets away with it because the characters are so believable. Tightly written, nary a word out of place, by turns sarcastic, tender, and irreverent, this a real piece of comedy about contemporary teen life from one funny writer. (Fiction. 10-14) Read full book review >
WALK TWO MOONS by Sharon Creech
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 30, 1994

During the six days it takes Sal's paternal grandparents to drive her west to Idaho in time for her mother's birthday, she tells them about her friend Phoebe—a story that, the 13-year-old comes to realize, in many ways parallels her own: Each girl had a mother who left home without warning. The mystery of Phoebe's more conventional mother's disappearance and its effects on her family and eventual explanation unfold as the journey, with its own offbeat incidents, proceeds; meanwhile, in Sal's intricate narrative, the tragic events surrounding her mother's flight are also gradually revealed. After Sal fell from a tree, her mother carried her back to the house; soon after, she bore a stillborn child. Slowly, the love between Sal's parents, her mother's inconsolable grief, and Sal's life since her departure emerge; last to surface are the painful facts that Sal has been most reluctant to face. Creech, an American who has published novels in Britain, fashions characters with humor and sensitivity, but Sal's poignant story would have been stronger without quite so many remarkable coincidences or such a tidy sum of epiphanies at the end. Still, its revelations make a fine yarn. (Fiction. 10- 14) Read full book review >