By Sharon Creech, published 2002
“We’ve got some amazing secret recipes,” Sairy said. “Beat-the-blues broccoli and anti-cranky crumpets and–” “Hey, with us here now,” Dallas said, “maybe you ought to make yourselves some getting-used-to-kids-again stew.”
Picking up a Sharon Creech children’s book, I always wonder what difficult topic she’s taking on now. This one didn’t disappoint me–orphaned children who no longer believe a happy home is even possible. While the chaotic life of the children is depicted in an exaggerated Charles Dickens style, it certainly brings out how difficult it must be for children to adapt to happiness, after long years of neglect.
I will wait until my friend Jane reads this to tell me whether this children’s book is appropriate for children who have gone through early life trauma. However, I can certainly recommend the book for children who have not had to deal with that, because it is such a good way to gain insight and empathy for children who have struggled.
The book is filled with lighthearted moments, because of the two adult characters, Sairy and Tiller. Their kindness, wisdom, and humor provide the possibility of bearing the difficult scenes that the two children had endured.
The book also offers a little bit of its own mystery as well, with a few shady characters thrown in. I loved this children’s book for the unusual way it takes on the issue of attachment, without any heaviness or psychological work. It just shows people dealing with it. The book is not heavy on realism… this is pretty much make-believe from start to finish, but it might just be the kind of make-believe that the doctor ordered, for children who are healing their past wounds. Jane, let us know what you think!