Rachel's Reviews > Chasing Redbird

Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech
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Jun 06, 2009

really liked it
Read in June, 2009

In Chasing Redbird, Sharon Creech takes on topics of death and grieving, coming of age, forging identities, and being part of a family -- all in terms accessible to young readers. Zinnia Taylor, the story's protagonist, is thirteen years old and feels lost in the swarm of her six brothers and sisters. She gets little individual attention and does not feel she has much identity of her own. She is also struggling to come to terms with the long-ago death of her cousin and the more recent death of her aunt. Then one day Zinny discovers a hidden trail, and captures the attentions of a cute boy....

Over the course of the novel, as Zinny clears the trail and learns to assert herself, she works through a range of emotions all very natural and appropriate for a thirteen-year-old girl. And as she struggles to cope with the deaths of her cousin and aunt, she works through emotions common to any mourner. Her uncle and parents, too, are grieving, each in their own way, and Creech expertly navigates these sensitive subjects to make the grief and emotions accessible and acceptable. It is particularly nice for young readers to learn that Zinny doesn't always know why she's doing the things she does, but that she follows her heart and her inclinations to do what's best for her. And even though she gets into her fair share of trouble, she takes responsibility for her own actions.

The story is told well, and the narrative flows smoothly. There are lessons to be learned, and nothing in the story that would be inappropriate for readers of any age. It's a nicely empowering tale for young girls, especially. The story wasn't overwhelmingly compelling, and is probably mostly forgettable, but it's nice in its simplicity and sensitivity to troubling subjects.
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