From Newbery Medal winner and bestselling author Sharon Creech comes a grand, sweeping yarn that is a celebration of the great and unexpected gifts of love, friendship, and forgiveness. With a starred review from Kirkus Reviews calling it an "enchanting tale to treasure," The Great Unexpected captures the heart and the imagination.Read more...
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From Newbery Medal winner and bestselling author Sharon Creech comes a grand, sweeping yarn that is a celebration of the great and unexpected gifts of love, friendship, and forgiveness. With a starred review from Kirkus Reviews calling it an "enchanting tale to treasure," The Great Unexpected captures the heart and the imagination.
Humorous and heartfelt, this is a story of pairs of young Naomi and Lizzie, both orphans in present-day Blackbird Tree, USA, and of Sybil and Nula, grown-up sisters from faraway Rook's Orchard, Ireland, who have become estranged.
Young Naomi Deane is brimming with curiosity and her best friend, Lizzie Scatterding, could talk the ears off a cornfield. Naomi has a knack for being around when trouble happens. She knows all the peculiar people in town like Crazy Cora and Witch Wiggins. But then, one day, a boy drops out of a tree. Just like that. A strangely charming Finn boy. And then the Dingle Dangle man appears, asking all kinds of questions. Curious surprises are revealed three locked trunks, a pair of rooks, a crooked bridge, and that boy and soon Naomi and Lizzie find their lives changed forever.
As two worlds are woven together, Creech reveals that hearts can be mended and that there is indeed a gossamer thread that connects us all."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-07-16
- Reviewer: Staff
In a story that is part folktale, part mystery, and part comedy, Newbery Medalist Creech (Walk Two Moons) traces a series of strange events, beginning with a boy’s fall from a tree, which is witnessed by an orphan named Naomi and her friend Lizzie. The boy, Finn, might be part of the Dimmens clan, who live up on Black Dog Night Hill, or his appearance might be more ethereal in nature. In alternating chapters, readers are whisked between two evocative locations: Naomi’s town of Blackbird Tree and an impressive Irish estate owned by an ailing mystery novel buff. Neighbors, strangers, and a collection of odd artifacts are all part of a puzzle Naomi tries to solve—and readers will be working just as hard to do so. The fun that drives the book forward derives from Naomi’s plainspoken narration (her barely concealed jealousy over Lizzie’s interactions with Finn is especially well-done), along with uncovering the surprising connections between characters and wondering whether magic is at the root of the baffling occurrences. Ages 8–12. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Sept.)
Big surprises for two little girls
Even if it weren’t an interesting tale about two orphan girls, a boy who appears out of nowhere and a mysterious revenge plot happening across the ocean in Ireland, The Great Unexpected would draw readers in with its clever prose and fluent storytelling. Award-winning author Sharon Creech (Walk Two Moons, The Wanderer) comes through once again with a compelling, entertaining read that is at once mysterious and familiar.
Preteen Naomi tells the story from her side of the Atlantic, introducing us to her best friend Lizzie and explaining how they both became foster children. Their small-town lives are fairly predictable, and summers are usually lazy and sweet. So it is no surprise that Naomi is nonplussed by the arrival of the strange boy Finn, whose entrance by falling from a tree is only the first of many “unexpected” things to happen. Naomi is not sure that the series of unexpected events are always that “great,” but Lizzie is certain that their world can only be improved by it all.
Creech does a wonderful job of weaving two threads of the story together in such a way that the ending is not wholly unexpected for the reader, but extremely surprising for Naomi and Lizzie. If The Great Unexpected is your first Sharon Creech book, then you are in for a treat, because you have many other treasures to uncover.