Once Upon a Story
November 6, 2013

17332435The Boy on the P0rch by Sharon Creech

Published by: HarperCollins

Release date: September 2013

Ages: 8-12

Pages: 160

From the publisher:

One day a young couple wakes to find a boy asleep on their porch. Unable to speak, the boy cannot explain his history. What kind of people would leave their child with strangers? All John and Marta know is that they have been chosen to care for this boy. As their connection to him grows, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family, but how long can their happiness last?

 

My Thoughts:
Do yourself a favor.  If (when!) you pick up this book, allow yourself the time to read it, in it’s entirety, in one sitting.  The book is not very long, and the writing flows easily, so you won’t have to allow yourself hours and hours of time.  But put the kids to bed, clean up the house, get out your clothes for the next day…do whatever it is you have to do first.
And then sink in.
John and Marta are simple folk.  Kind-hearted, hard-working, country folk.  They lead a seemingly uncomplicated life.  And then a boy shows up on their porch.  A boy, according to the note left in his pocket, named Jacob. The note asks Marta and John to take care of the child, and that whoever left him there “wil be back wen we can.”
Almost immediately, John and Marta realize there’s something strange about the boy.  He doesn’t speak, but communicates in rhythmic tapping.  He becomes close friends with the beagle and a cow.  As time goes on and nobody appears to collect Jacob, John and Marta help him explore other interests, and discover he has a brilliance for both art and music.  John regularly brings home jellybeans from the store.  A family is formed.
There’s so much more I want to share about this book, but to share too much would destroy the framework for the absolutely beautiful ending Creech has crafted.  Upon finishing the book, I tweeted the following:

And within several minutes had responding cries of agreement.  There are many, many good books.  But The Boy on the Porch goes beyond “good” to “necessary.”  This is a book that needed to be written.  There are people, amazing people, who need to hear the message it has to share.

 

While that’s deliberately vague, it is intentional.  A book with a powerful ending deserves to be experienced without spoilers.  I don’t want to diminish that power.

Find it. Read it.  And then pass the story on to someone else.

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