“A driver had been sent to meet us. He was gray-haired, short, and nimble and introduced himself. “I am Patrick and so is every fourth man in Ireland, and the ones in between are named Sean or Mick or Finn, and I’ll be driving you.”


From Newbery Medal winner and bestselling author Sharon Creech comes a grand, sweeping yarn that is a celebration of the great and unexpected gifts of love, friendship, and forgiveness. With a starred review from Kirkus Reviews calling it an “enchanting tale to treasure,” The Great Unexpected captures the heart and the imagination.

Humorous and heartfelt, this is a story of pairs—of young Naomi and Lizzie, both orphans in present-day Blackbird Tree, USA, and of Sybil and Nula, grown-up sisters from faraway Rook’s Orchard, Ireland, who have become estranged.

Young Naomi Deane is brimming with curiosity and her best friend, Lizzie Scatterding, could talk the ears off a cornfield. Naomi has a knack for being around when trouble happens. She knows all the peculiar people in town—like Crazy Cora and Witch Wiggins. But then, one day, a boy drops out of a tree. Just like that. A strangely charming Finn boy. And then the Dingle Dangle man appears, asking all kinds of questions. Curious surprises are revealed—three locked trunks, a pair of rooks, a crooked bridge, and that boy—and soon Naomi and Lizzie find their lives changed forever.

As two worlds are woven together, Creech reveals that hearts can be mended and that there is indeed a gossamer thread that connects us all.

My Experiences

This is a delightful book that I read in one sitting. Sharon Creech has done it again with this beautifully written and lyrical story. It is warm, witty, full of memorable and eccentric characters, secrets and coincidences, hidden meaning and life lessons for our children. As you begin to put the pieces of the puzzle of the story together it will remind you that we are all connected by that invisible thread and the actions of one many times affect the lives of others.

We are all interconnected as this book poignantly portrays through and bestows upon us once again the great but not unexpected gift of the storytelling of Ms. Creech.


“I wondered If things that might seem frightening could lose their hold over you. I wondered If we find the people we need when we need them. I wondered If we attract our future by some sort of invisible force, or If we are drawn to it by a similar force. I felt I was turning a corner and that change was afoot.”

“Lizzie said that if you imagined you were standing on the moon, looking down on the earth, you wouldn’t be able to see the itty-bitty people racing around worrying you wouldn’t see the barn falling in or the cow stuck in the pond; you wouldn’t see the mean Granger kids squirting mustard on your white dress. You would see the most beautiful blue oceans and green lands, and the whole earth would look like a giant blue-and-green marble floating in the sky. Your worries would seem so small, maybe invisible.”

“What’s important is the ambition that results from our weakness.”

“Mrs. Mudkin closed her eyes. “We should pray.”
“I ain’t praying,” Crazy Cora said.
Mrs. Mudkin said, “Lord, please bless—“
“I ain’t praying.”
“–this land and the people who–“
“I ain’t praying.”
“–have toiled on this earth–“
“Stop that praying.”
“I can pray if I want to.”
“Then be quiet about it.”

“But I thought about all the things that had to have spun into place in order for us to be alive and for us to be right there, right then. I thought about the few thing we thought we knew and the billions of things we couldn’t know, all spinning, whirling our there somewhere.”

“Joe, my guardian and a man of few words, once said about Lizzie, “That girl could talk the ears off a cornfield.”

Where To find this Unexpected book

Indie Bound*

*If you are unaware, I have a video on how to use Indie Bound as a resource on how to find books

Also, if you have a Windows Phone, there is a really good EPUB reader app called Bookviser Reader. You can check out their website here.


Cite this article as: Serene Haroon, "The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech," in {sereneharoon.com}, March 11, 2016, http://sereneharoon.com/2016/03/the-great-unexpected-by-sharon-creech/.

104 thoughts on “The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech”

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