I absolutely adored Saving Winslow which is a beautifully heart-warming and gentle story of the love which develops between two children and a mini-donkey, a love which helps them to open their hearts again after loss, to find hope and to build friendship. This story holds a special place in my heart as I grew up surrounded by many animals on our family farm. I remember with great fondness feeding and looking after chicks, goslings, lambs and calves, so I totally understand Louie’s bond with Winslow. We even had a donkey!
Louie has not had much success with nurturing his collection of rather diverse pets; however, when his father brings home a sickly new-born mini-donkey from his Uncle Pete’s farm, Louie immediately takes him into his heart, and sets himself a mission to save him.
He felt a sudden rush, as if the roof had peeled off the house and the sun had dived into every corner of the kitchen.
Despite warnings that Winslow is unlikely to survive, Louie is absolutely determined to save him. He shows endless patience and gentleness with caring for his new friend, willing him to survive against the odds.
Louie is worried that he will never find something he is passionate about, but looking after Winslow gives him a real sense of purpose. This helps him to cope with the aching loss he feels after his older brother joins the army.
Soon after Winslow’s arrival into Louie’s life, his friend Mack brings newcomers Claudine and Nora to see Winslow. Nora and Louie soon take tentative steps towards friendship. My heart really went out to Nora who is dealing with her own losses, and fears further pain if she builds a relationship with Winslow and then loses him. Winslow, however, has other ideas!
The bond that both Louie and Nora develop with Winslow is wonderfully precious and satisfying: it is a connection that allows both children to find solace after loss, to build trust, to feel hopeful and to find friendship through their mutual love for Winslow.
I adored Winslow who has to fight to survive, but who thrives under the care of Louie and Nora. They treat him to sledge rides and take him for walks, but will there come a time when Winslow needs to say goodbye to his home with Louie? And, if so, will Louie and Nora be willing to let him go?
I worry about the worst, but I hope for the best.
The short chapters and wonderfully warm relationship between the children and the adorable Winslow will appeal to younger readers, but there is also a depth to the story in terms of dealing with loss and relationships which makes this perfect for a wider age range.
Thank you to Bella at Guppy Books and Amy for a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.