Synopses & Reviews
A Face at the Window
Gramps says that I am a country girl at heart, and that is true. I have lived most of my thirteen years in Bybanks, Kentucky, which is not much more than a caboodle of houses roosting in a green spot alongside the Ohio River. just over a year ago, my father plucked me up like a weed and took me and all our belongings (no, that is not true--he did not bring the chestnut tree, the willow, the maple, the hayloft, or the swimming hole, which all belonged to me) and we drove three hundred miles straight north and stopped in front of a house in Euclid, Ohio.
"No trees?" I said. "This is where we're going to live?"
"No," my father said. "This is Margaret's house."
The front door of the house opened and a lady with wild red hair stood there. I looked up and down the street. The houses were all jammed together like a row of birdhouses. In front of each house was a tiny square of grass, and in front of that was a thin gray sidewalk running alongside a gray road.
"Where's the barn?" I asked. "The river? The swimming hole?"
"Oh, Sal," my father said. "Come on. There's Margaret." He waved to the lady at the door.
"We have to go back. I forgot something."
The lady with the wild red hair opened the door and came out onto the porch.
"In the back of my closet," I said, under the floorboards. I put something there, and I've got to have it."
"Don't be a goose. Come and see Margaret."
Not long ago, when I was locked in a car with my grandparents for six days, I told them the story of Phoebe, and when I finished telling them--or maybe even as I was telling them--I realized that the story of Phoebe was like the plaster wall in our old house in Bybanks, Kentucky.
My father started chipping away at a plaster wall in the living room of our house in Bybanks shortly after my mother left us one April morning. Our house was an old farmhouse that my parents had been restoring, room by room. Each night as he waited to hear from my mother, he chipped away at that wall.
On the night that we got the bad news--that she was not returning--he pounded and pounded, on that wall with a chisel and a hammer. At two o'clock in the morning, he came up to my room. I was not asleep. He led me downstairs and showed me what he had found. Hidden behind the wall was a brick fireplace.
The reason that Phoebe's story reminds me of that plaster wall and the hidden fireplace is that beneath Phoebe's story was another one. Mine.
Young Adult Edition with Reader's Guide
"Sometimes you know in your heart you love someone, but you have to go away before your head can figure it out."
To trace the path of her missing mother, Sal embarks on a journey from Ohio to Idaho with her grandparents. On the road, Sal tells the strange and exciting story of her friend Phoebe. As the miles pass, Phoebe's tale becomes more and more outrageous, while Sal's own story begins to emerge. In unraveling Phoebe's mystery, Sal comes ever closer to finding out the truth behind her own bittersweet journey. What will she find at the end of the road?
In her own award-winning style, Creech intricately weaves together two tales--one funny, one bittersweet--to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion.
In her own singularly beautiful style, Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion.
Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, proud of her country roots and the "Indian-ness in her blood," travels from Ohio to Idaho with her eccentric grandparents. Along the way, she tells them of the story of Phoebe Winterbottom, who received mysterious messages, who met a "potential lunatic," and whose mother disappeared.
As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe's outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold--the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.
Supports the Common Core State Standards
About the Author
Known for writing with a classic voice and unique style, Sharon Creech is the best-selling author of the Newbery Medal winnerWalk Two Moons
, and the Newbery Honor BookThe Wanderer
. She is also the first American in history to be awarded the CILIP Carnegie Medal forRuby Holler
. Her other works include the novelsLove That Dog
, Absolutely Normal Chaos
, Chasing Redbird
, and Pleasing the Ghost
, and two picture books: A Fine, Fine School
and Fishing in the Air
. These stories are often centered around life, love, and relationships -- especially family relationships. Ms. Creech's first novel for children,Absolutely Normal Chaos
, was based on her own "rowdy and noisy" family. Growing up in a big family in Cleveland, Ohio, helped Ms. Creech learn to tell stories that wouldn't be forgotten in all of the commotion: "I learned to exaggerate and embellish, because if you didn't, your story was drowned out by someone else's more exciting one."
With a knack for storytelling and love of reading, a young Ms. Creech aspired to become a novelist: "To be able to create other worlds, to be able to explore mystery and myth -- I couldn't imagine a better way to live. . .except perhaps to be a teacher, because teachers got to handle books all day long." In college, Ms. Creech took her first writing courses and attended writing workshops. This renewed her enthusiasm for becoming a novelist. Following her studies in college and graduate school, Ms. Creech worked as an editorial assistant before deciding to become a teacher overseas. Now, after spending eighteen years teaching and writing in Europe, she and her husband have returned to the United States to live.