Saving Winslow is an emotional tour-de-force story centred around one young boy’s determination to save a small, pitiful donkey when all hope seems lost. A true battle against the odds and as Louie experiences first-hand…it is hard hoping for the best when everyone expects the worst.
Louie has a chequered history when it comes to looking after small creatures. They have a habit of dying or escaping when they’re in his care. So when his father comes home with a mini donkey that is on his last legs, everyone fears the worst. But Louie immediately feels a special connection with the donkey (who he calls Winslow) and he makes it his mission to keep this little donkey alive…
Saving Winslow is a heart-warming tale that explores the emotional lives of children. Winslow is a fighter just like Louie, who himself was born two months early. Louie finds comfort and purpose in looking after Winslow to replace the gaping hole that has been left in his life after his brother, Gus, left home to serve for his country. The story of Gus is woven alongside that of Winslow. The family are constantly full of worry and are always waiting for postcards from Gus, and worryingly, his more recent letters home are signed off with ‘remember me’.
Central to the narrative are strong messages on positivity and hope. Louie never loses faith in the survival of Winslow even though everyone around him does not share his optimism. New friend Nora is so pessimistic that she outright refuses to form any sort of emotional attachment to the donkey. What becomes apparent is that Nora struggles with attachment issues - she is drawn to Winslow but does not see the point of loving anything if it is eventually going to be taken away from you. Her views of the world are tarnished by the tragic previous losses in her life.
Saving Winslow is a real page-turner that I read in one sitting. The chapters are short and rarely exceed three pages. The copy I read was a large print version produced by Thorndike Press and is an easily accessible read for children of seven and above.
Recommended for 7+.