Monday, May 12, 2008

Walk Two Moons: Newbery Medal Winner Book Review

Hardcover: 280 pages
Ages: 9 to 12
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0-06-023334-6
ISBN: 0-06-023337-0

Walk Two Moons is the tale of thirteen year old Salamanca (Sal) Tree Hiddle and her trek from Euclid, Ohio to Lewiston, Idaho with her zany grandparents. Through humor, wit and poignancy Walk Two Moons addresses dying, loving and grieving. I loved this story. The plot twists, satire and charming characters come alive on every page. Another great facet about Walk Two Moons is how the main character, narrates a parallel story of grief and love while she sorts out her own heartaches.

Sal’s mother leaves home without warning and Sal experiences a feeling of abandonment even with all the post cards her mother sends to her. When Sal’s father announces her mother will not be coming home, Sal is devastated. Still, she and her father move to Euclid, Ohio against Sal’s desire.

Sal’s grandparents, Grams and Gramps Hiddle are determined to help Sal get to Lewiston, Idaho before her mother’s birthday. However instead of following a direct route they follow the scenic tour bus route.

In order to pass the time and keep her mind off of her Gramps crazy driving, Sal narrates the story of her friend Phoebe’s mother who also left home. Phoebe is adamant her mother did not leave home on her own accord rather Phoebe believes her mother has been kidnapped by a lunatic who delivers notes with strange messages like “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.”

Additionally, Walk Two Moons provides a glimpse of how families can react differently to similar circumstances and still hold on to a solid foundation of love and warmth. As you begin to learn about Sal’s grandparents and the deep love they share you also learn about Sal’s friend Mary Lou and her family who are openly rambunctious and affectionate with each other in comparison to Phoebe’s family who are uncomfortable with outward signs of affection.

Creech’s talent to write two story lines simultaneously is the essence of Walk Two Moons. There are so many things to admire about this book that a mere few lines of plot description will not do it justice. However, just when you think you know where the plot is headed, Creech drops a few surprises on you and a curve ball is thrown right between the pages. Walk Two Moons speaks on a level that all middle grade students can relate too. The plot unfolds nicely and yet the end is still a surprise. Don’t be surprised if a small tear trickles down your cheek too.

Author Sharon Creech was awarded the 1994 Newbery Medal award for Walk Two Moons and Newbery Honor Book for The Wanderer. She is also the first American to win the Carnegie medal for her book Ruby Holler. For nine months of the year she lives in England and teaches American and British literature. You can visit her website at

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