When Louie’s father brings home a sad little orphaned donkey foal from his uncle’s farm, he accepts the unspoken challenge to care for it, despite his own poor track record in caring for animals. Louie is spurred on by knowledge of his own precarious birth, coaxed to life as a premature baby. Caring for Winslow (his name for the donkey) gives Louie a much-needed focus, distracting him from worrying about his beloved brother Gus, a soldier far away, lonely and in constant danger.
The story follows the ups and downs of Louie’s caring for Winslow and the increasing involvement of his friend Nora, who having experienced loss herself is initially reluctant to become too involved and commit her love to such a fragile life. When the donkey thrives and grows his presence is deemed a public health hazard. A solution needs to be found, but it isn’t long before Winslow proves his worth alerting neighbours to danger, just like a guard dog or guard donkey.
This is an engaging beautifully written story about the risks involved in allowing yourself to love and care for another living creature. With echoes of Charlotte’s Web, this heartwarming tale from award winning novelist Sharon Creech would make a great book to read aloud at home or at school.