The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech

The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Family
Ages 8 to 12, Grades 3 to 7
Pages: 240 Jacketed Hardcover
Date Published: September 4th, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins

From acclaimed Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech comes a beautiful, sweeping story that is a celebration of the great unexpected-life.

I had big thoughts to match the big wind. I wondered if we find the people we need when we need them. I wondered if we attract our future by some sort of invisible force, or if we are drawn to it by a similar force. I felt I was turning a corner and that change was afoot.

Heartfelt and hilarious, this is a classic and sweeping yarn, a story of pairs-of spirited young orphans Naomi and Lizzie in Blackbird Tree, USA, and of Sybil and Nula, grown-up sisters from far away Rooks Orchard, Ireland. Beloved author Sharon Creech deftly weaves these two rich worlds together, as unraveling mysteries of identity unfold with alternating stories across the ocean. Naomi’s and Lizzie’s misfortunes turn into lives filled with hope, as old misunderstandings between Sybil and Nula give way to love and forgiveness. With captivating language and an amazing cast of characters, such as Elizabeth Scatterding, Miss Pilpenny, Witch Wiggins, Mr. Dingle, and Paddy McCoul, this is a tale about unexpected gifts-the kindness of neighbors, of strangers fostering children, and of young people helping old and old helping young. This breathtaking tale reminds us that magic is everywhere, though not necessarily where we might think.

Read from October 01 to 03, 2012 — I own a copy

There are so many books that when I hear their author or title, I know I should have read them and “everyone” seems to talk about them. Walk Two Moons is one of those, but I never read it. Now, I know that I will, I will go back for that one and just about every Sharon Creech that I can get my hands on because I found this one to be so fantastic. Fun, fantastic, fascinating, just plain fabulous. While part of me was thinking I would get a bigger ending, for what it is, it’s worth the read. Partly because the author, partly because the cover image – this one I could not help but start when it dropped into my hands. I wasn’t planning to read a middle grades book this week, but it was well… unexpected.

The Great Unexpected is a story about two orphan girls, where they came from, where they are and where they will go. It is a novel that can touch anyone and I think it is extremely valuable for the quality of thinking that it might bring to a young mind. This is one to read and then have some time to yourself to contemplate. All those questions, answers or not – this has an input. I wonder if this review makes sense to anyone, or if it just babbling… hmm… who knows, but perhaps that’s not the point. This is a thinker book, and it’s entertaining. Quirky and humorous I found this enjoyable and will not hesitate to read it aloud to my daughter again in a year or so and then offer it to her to read alone when she is able.

At times, I hate to put it down but absolutely must go to sleep, I guess I should have started earlier in the day to read it all at once. This is the kind of read that makes the wheels turn but keeps me silent to just think and not try to get it all out. Yet I want to journal and write poems and share it with the world as well. How in the world can I ever describe such things?

This touches on the harshness and the realities in life and circumstances, but instead of being morose it’s plain fact with a sunny side. Exactly what we need in life and definitely something that all “oh-woah-is-me” characters can connect to. I think this is a needed book and will fit many places.

*Thanks to HarperCollins Children’s for providing a copy for review.*

Quotes I Love:

“Lizzie said that if you imagined you were standing on the moon, looking down on the earth, you wouldn’t be able to see the itty-bitty people racing around worrying you wouldn’t see the barn falling in or the cow stuck in the pond; you wouldn’t see the mean Granger kids squirting mustard on your white dress. You would see the most beautiful blue oceans and green lands, and the whole earth would look like a giant blue-and-green marble floating in the sky. Your worries would seem so small, maybe invisible.”
― Sharon Creech, The Great Unexpected, p.17

“A driver had been sent to meet us. He was gray-haired, short, and nimble and introduced himself. “I am Patrick and so is every fourth man in Ireland, and the ones in between are named Sean or Mick or Finn, and I’ll be driving you.”
― Sharon Creech, The Great Unexpected, p.171

“Mrs. Mudkin closed her eyes. “We should pray.”
“I ain’t praying,” Crazy Cora said.
Mrs. Mudkin said, “Lord, please bless—”
“I ain’t praying.”
“–this land and the people who–”
“I ain’t praying.”
“–have toiled on this earth–”
“Stop that praying.”
“I can pray if I want to.”
“Then be quiet about it.”
― Sharon Creech, The Great Unexpected, p.191

Sharon Creech is the author of the Newbery Medal winner Walk Two Moons, the Newbery Honor winner The Wanderer, and the Carnegie Medal winner Ruby Holler. Her other works include The Unfinished Angel, Hate That Cat, The Castle Corona, Replay, Heartbeat, Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, 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? Sharon Creech and her husband live in upstate New York. You can visit her online at www.sharoncreech.com.

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