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Subject: Isaac's Reads: Sharon Creech's "Replay" rss

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Replay by Sharon Creech

I adore Sharon Creech's books. I think my first exposure to her was through Love That Dog, a story about a young boy forced to write poetry for his English class. He resists it all the way, but finds a way to express his voice by the end, and writes a poem about his dog. The book is about 80 pages, is written as if written in the boy's writing journal (in poetry, nonetheless), and can be read in about 20 minutes. It packs a HUGE emotional punch, though, especially for those of us who have loved a pet.

About a year after that, my wife discovered Walk Two Moons and passed it on to me after she finished it, so shortly after finishing that book (another simply told but emotional story about family), I became a Sharon Creech fanboy. I've since read all of her work, and while it's all powerfully told, and all centered on families, nothing has quite matched up to how she moved me with Love That Dog. Until now.

Replay is about Leo, one of the youngest sons in a family of seven, and he's prone to daydreaming. He has managed to acquire the nicknames "Fog Boy" (for his daydreaming) and "Sardine" (a story better left for you to discover), and early in the book, he talks of feeling invisible in such a large family. At the same time that he receives a part in a school play, he begins to examine his family (including aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, but mostly he's interested in his father), and as he begins to think about them, he begins to think more about himself. Thus, his journey of self-discovery begins.

It's hard for me to discuss Sharon Creech without gushing. Her writing style is crisp, clear, and concise. In one part of the book, she manages to nail the poignancy and pain associated with the loss of a pet, all in the span of about six paragraphs. She's very quotable, and knows a great deal about people, families, and human nature. Her stories flow very well (with the minor exceptions of a few stumbling starts as one gets accustomed to Leo's daydreaming, and keeping up with all the characters in the book), and can usually be read in a couple of hours.

Ms. Creech also addresses very real issues in her book. In the past, she's addressed death, peril, foster parents, and the usual dysfunction that comes with a family dynamic, and doesn't shy away from being very honest about these issues. In that sense, she's similar to Louis Sachar, but I find her books more readable, more accessible, and much more interesting. Maybe I can just relate better to her characters, though (I saw some of myself in Leo).

I hate that I forgot to mention Ms. Creech in jatoha's thread about reading to 4th graders. She would have been a perfect fit for a lot of those kids, I think. Shoot, she's a perfect fit for a lot of grown ups, too, and I would heartily recommend her to anyone wanting to read a well-told, touching tale.
 
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Rob
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I swear, Isaac, you are a reading MACHINE. You go thru books at an amazing clip! Where do you find the time?

Seriously, thanks for the review. My son had Love That Dog a couple years ago, but never cracked it open for some reason - too interested in Lego building I guess. We gave it away. Now I may get it for him again, or myself.
 
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The trick to reading isn't FINDING the time, it's MAKING the time. But I usually read some before I go to sleep each night, and during my lunch hours at work. The rest of the time, I don't read as much.

Working in a library helps me to find stuff to read, but contrary to what most people think (including our current First Lady), librarians don't read books all day at their jobs. We don't have the time!
 
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Scott and Suzy Krutsch
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I feel the same way about Sharon Creech. I didn't even know about Replay. I can't wait to read it. I'm a teacher and I use Love That Dog as a basis for my poetry unit. The kids can really identify with...what his name...the kid in the book. The only book I've read by her that I didn't absolutely love is Bloomability. I merely enjoyed that one. I do have a few to read! (Heartbeat, Pleasing the Ghost, and some of the picture books.)

It's great to know that someone else gushes about Sharon Creech, too.

On another note, have you read The View from Saturday by EL Konigsburg? I feel the same way about this book as I do about many of Sharon Creech's novels.
 
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skrutsch wrote:
On another note, have you read The View from Saturday by EL Konigsburg? I feel the same way about this book as I do about many of Sharon Creech's novels.


I haven't, but it looks like it's going to make it onto my reading list!
 
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