Chasing Redbird

ISBN: 0330397826
ISBN 13: 9780330397827
By: Sharon Creech

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About this book

After her aunt's death, quiet Zinny Taylor hardly speaks at all. When she discovers the start of an ancient pioneer trail on the family farm, Zinny begins an obsessive journey that leads her towards the secrets of her childhood.

Reader's Thoughts

Grace Steele

Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech tells the story of 13-year-old Zinnia “Zinny” Taylor whose life thus far has been defined by her last name and how she fits in with her large and chaotic family. One of seven children, Zinny is in a constant struggle to assert herself as an individual. Throughout the years, Zinny has discovered an escape from the frenzy of her own household in the “quiet zone” of her Aunt Jessie and Uncle Nate’s house. She becomes close with them and their daughter Rose as a young girl but when Rose passes away after catching whooping cough from Zinny, she can do nothing but blame herself for the loss. When this story begins, Aunt Jessie has recently and very unexpectedly passed, leaving the whole family, though more specifically Uncle Nate and Zinny, devastated and lost. When Zinny discovers an overgrown trail running through the woods near her family’s house, she begins a summer project that leads her to a self-discovery and an acceptance of the past which cannot be changed. Though at the start of the novel Zinny is considered “the quiet one” of the family, by the end of her “journey” through clearing the path, she is fully capable of asserting herself as an individual and it is clear that she now has a sense of self-worth. Through the many made-up identities Zinny assigns herself to throughout the novel, it is clear that her journey of self-discovery is not complete until she is able to see herself for who she truly is: an explorer, a caring daughter, friend and niece, and most importantly an individual. Though this novel contains a small aspect of romance with the character of Jake Boone, it does not over-cloud Creech’s emphasis on self-acceptance and discovery but instead acts as another feature to help Zinny realize her self-worth. Overall, this novel is very empowering for adolescent girls who might feel like they are lost in their own world. Relating to the themes expressed throughout Walk Two Moons and many of Creech’s other novels, Chasing Redbird offers an inspiring yet relatable story which deals with the hardship of loss as well as the complexities of discovering one’s identity.


"Sometimes it seems too crowded on our side, and you don’t know who you are. You feel like everybody’s spaghetti is all tangled in one pot… I discovered an old trail, overgrown with grass and weeds. I knew instantly that it was mine and mine alone. What I didn’t know was how long or how hard it would be to uncover the whole thing, or that it would turn into such an obsession…the trail was just like the spaghetti of me and my family…it took a heap of doing to untangle it.""Sometimes, one grasshopper or one fossil or one maple would be mesmerizing. You could look at any one of these for days and weeks and months, and you'd see something different each time. Maybe it was the same with people: if you studied them, you'd see new and different things. But would you like what you saw? Did it depend on who was doingthe looking?"I suddenly felt very small and alone, as if no one understood what I was doing or why it was important to me, and I was not able to explain it to them because I ddin't know why it was so important to me.


SUMMARY: 13 year old Zinny Taylor has nothing to call her own. She soon finds a trail in which she uncovers.PASSAGE: From far below came the mournful train whistle, and I instictively turned in the direction of the farm, thinking of the ash tree and the cardinals and Aunt Jessie and Uncle Nate. My family would be clattering around the dinner table, and I wondereed if anyone would notice I was gone. Out flew another scene: my parents getting up early that morning to see me off. And another: Sam slurping his soup. And more: Ben in his garden, Gretchen hunched over her computer. STOP! I pleadeed with my brain. STOP IT! p.153 paragraph 3-4-I chose this passage, because this is the passage where Zinny really sees that she could not imagine life without her family. Zinny thought that she just needed to get out of that house with so many kids in it. She thought her parents didn't have enough time to talk to her alone and that she was used by boys for her older sister. She realizes know though that her family is very important to her and that she does care about them even though nothing seems to ever just be hers. I think this was a big scene for Zinny and it was my favorite part as well because family is what is important and we will always have our family no matter what and that related to me!!


Once again, another great Sharon Creech book.


I really enjoyed this book because of the way Sharon Creech created the characters and how well each chapter fit into the other. I especially liked how she created Zinny's Uncle Nate because at first he seemed like a normal person that wasn't very important and then once her Aunt Jessie died he changed. Uncle Nate made the lesson come through that when someone dies you have to get over it, you can't just sit around and cry. He made this lesson come through by pretending to have her there and this teaches people to adapt to things that have to happen in life. I also like how Sharon Creech created Zinny's brother Ben. I liked it because he seemed like one of Zinny's favorite of all her siblings. He also seemed important because Ben was the one that saw her Aunt Jessie after she died so he was the one she could relate to and talk to about it. The other part of this book I enjoyed was the way each chapter related to the one before it. For example, one of the chapters was called Bingo and then the next was called Gobbler. These two chapters relate to each other because Bingo was the name of a stolen dog and in the next chapter Zinny finds out that the real name of the dog is Gobbler. I liked that the book was like this because the title of the chapter gave you a hint of what the chapter may be about. So, overall I really enjoyed this book because of the way Sharon Creech wrote it.


PRESENTATIONThirteen year-old Zinnia "Zinny" Taylor is quiet and somewhat forgotten among the other kids in her big family. To escape the chaos, she spends most of her time at her Aunt Jessie and Uncle Nate's house. Though they live adjacent to her own on the family farm in Kentucky, Zinny feels worlds apart from her own family here and finds in Jessie a second mother. Aunt Jessie and Uncle Nate once had a daughter Zinny's age who died of whooping cough she caught from Zinny, and so Zinny tries also to take Rose's place, though Zinny sometimes finds distress in this comparison. When Aunt Jessie dies suddenly, Zinny's world is turned upside down, and the story begins. Zinny spends a lot of her time outside and one day discovers a trail that Zinny knows will connect her to her Aunt Jessie. With the (sometimes unwanted) help of her past friend Jake Boone, Zinny sets out on a journey to uncover the trail, uncover the mysteries of her aunt's past, and uncover herself. Creech's novel is beautiful. Her exploration of death, life, and identity is insightful and sweet, and her voice of thirteen year-old Zinny is magnetic. I loved it when I was younger and I still loved it today, so that's saying something. I would recommend this book to older middle-grade readers and above.

Elizabeth Crook

My sister turned me on to this book because her daughter loved it so much. I read it with my daughter when she was in second grade. It is powerful and beautifully strange, both realistic and magical at the same time. Sharon Creech is a fearless writer who doesn't shy away from the hard truths about loss and old age and the perpetual mystery of death, and yet avoids the sinister: her books are a celebration of kindness and discovery. After reading Chasing Redbird we read her others and found them all equally poignant and captivating. But it was this one that my daughter chose to read again, three years later, twice, on her own.


Another utterly unique and wonderful book by this author. Zinnie Taylor is a girl who wonders if her life will ever be simple. Her beloved and spirited aunt, nicknamed Redbird, has passed away, leaving her family subdued. She lives among her five other siblings, always lumped together as “one of those Taylors”. She wants more than anything to be unique, to find something she can call her own. She never expected that something to be in her own backyard.One day, Zinnie unearths a single stepping stone by the creek in her yard, and it doesn’t take her long to realize that this is just the beginning of a trail; a trail covered by the undergrowth of years. And so Zinnie begins to clear the path with a zealous determination, and in doing so, begins to answer the questions of her own life.What really happened to the baby cousin who was like a sister to her and died when she was small? How can she prove her uniqueness to her parents and siblings? What is she going to do about Jake, who brings her presents and confuses her more than anyone? And will she ever finish the immense task she has set herself, to clear the trail and untangle the mysteries of growing up? Another quirky tale from Sharon Creech about the pains, triumphs, and realizations of love, loss, youth, and family.


Chasing Redbird is written by Sharon Creech, and is about thirteen-year old Zinny Taylor who lives in Kansas on her families farm. She grows up with her two older brothers and her Aunt "Redbird" and Uncle Nate. She grows up becoming best friends with her cousin Rose all her childhood until she suddenly dies, of whooping cough at a young age. Zinny spends almost every second she can trying to find a way to get away from her family and the seldom privacy of her small rural town, where everybody knows everybody. When her aunt dies and everything seems like it is falling apart, she takes on a load of guilt thinking that she was the reason for Rose's death and also the reason for her aunt's death. She finds a small trail in the near by woods on her family farm. When she just wants to be alone she finds that camping in the woods is one of the best places to be. As she makes a small place of her own in the woods she figures out many life problems and how to handle them. As her uncle Nate is having delusions about his dead wife, Zinny tries as hard as she can to help him make it through the pain. As she tries to find faith and love in just her simple place in the woods and simple family, she learns that sometimes it is not easy to find your place or reason in life but it all will work out if you just believe in yourself.


Eh. Just struck me as a really dysfunctional group of people and a family that doesn't have enough time for itself. There's no real resolve to anything, and the end feels like Zinnia's just getting herself entangled with a boy who's trouble. Not too impressed with this one.


I thought this book was just ok. I wouldn't say that it was a bad book---I just wouldn't recommend it as a "good read". I do like how she writes....if you want to read a really good book by this author read "Walk Two Moons"!! I loved that!!


Questo libro ha qualcosa di magico. Tutti i libri di Sharon Creech, in realtà, hanno qualcosa di magico. Qualcosa di profondamente riflessivo sotto il tono leggero e scorrevole (l'ho letto in tipo tre ore! esattamente quello che mi serviva dopo essermi trascinata The dark is Rising per settimane XD), qualcosa di inaspettato eppure totalmente credibile. I suoi personaggi non sono mai piatti, sono sempre bidimensionali nelle loro luci e ombre, e soprattutto sono assolutamente umani. Tipo, persone. Persone che fanno cose sbagliate per il motivo giusto, persone che fanno cose stupide per il motivo sbagliato, persone che fanno cose che nemmeno loro lo sanno, perchè le hanno fatte. Questo in particolare, con la piccola Zinny che parte e se ne va da sola nei boschi per finire di scoprire (nel senso di: ripulire dalle erbacce. ma anche: capire dove porta) il suo sentiero, che ha trovato per caso nel bosco dietro casa, è stato particolarmente azzeccato, dato il mio recente costante pensiero di prendere e andare da qualche parte, di nuovo (mi mancamancamanca la scozia; ma soprattutto mi mancamancamanca il viaggiare in se)

Rori Rockman

This was my second favorite book growing up (the number one spot went to Time Windows). It falls into the category I refer to as escapist literature.Zinny Taylor has six brothers and sisters, and desperately wants her space to figure out who she is and what she wants to be. I only had two siblings, but growing up (and even now, as an adult) I could definitely relate to the sentiment of wanting to explore who you are, without the criticism and distraction of other people.She discovers a path in the back of her house, and sets to work clearing the trail. When it gets longer, she gets permission from her family to camp out on the trail for several days at a time. On the way, she muses about the recent changes in her life (her aunt died, and her uncle is having trouble recovering from her death). She thinks about the handsome neighborhood boy, and whether he is really interested in her or is using her to get to her sister. She thinks about her family and begins to miss them. She appreciates the nature on the trail, contends with the grueling task of clearing away the brush on twenty miles of trail, briefly grapples with the moral implications of trespassing, and figures out how to survive when she's forgotten certain survival tools such as a can opener.How wonderful would it be to escape everything and everyone, and be alone with nature with a clear, defined purpose? Especially when you know this is a book aimed for middle schoolers and nothing too horrible is likely to happen? And even if in reality it wouldn't be too fun, it's lovely to imagine, isn't it?Because of practical implications, safety concerns, and (now) adult responsibilities, I don't think I could ever set out and do something like what Zinny does in this book. But it is so fun and relaxing to imagine doing it!


If I could, I would give this book 2 1/2 starts. I'm not sure if I liked it or not. I didn't really like the characters. I found Zinny was selfish in many ways. I understand that she was dealing with grief, but the whole thing seemed really contrived. I didn't like Jake, and I wouldn't want my daughter to date him - ever. He is dishonest, but then again, so is Zinny. I didn't like that Zinny was friends with Sal. That part bugged me. I loved Walk Two Moons, and I didn't want Zinny interloping on Sal's story. I thought the parents were poorly written. I don't for a minute believe parents would let a young girl spend 10 days out in the woods by herself - especially since there were bobcats, foxes, bears, and drunk hunters lurking about. All of the characters has severe communication problems/issues. This family was in need of theraphy - desperately!There are parts of this book that are beautifully written. I cried when I read about the plastic roses. I felt bad for Zinny when she painted a rose on her shirt instead of a zinnia. I liked how Creech let us see Zinny's confusion about herself and Rose. I also liked that her father flew overhead while she was out on the trail. I liked that Uncle Nathan helped the turtle find a mate. This book is worth reading, but it isn't as good as I expect from Creech.


I loved this book. It's a great book that makes you laugh. If you haven't read this before, you must read it!

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