Setting

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 292

Chasing Redbird is set on a farm near Bybanks, Kentucky. Zinny lives in her family's home which is yoked to her Uncle Nate's and Aunt Jessie's home. One home, Zinny's, is filled with life, noise, and people. The other is quiet, filled with samplers on the walls and a more...

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Chasing Redbird is set on a farm near Bybanks, Kentucky. Zinny lives in her family's home which is yoked to her Uncle Nate's and Aunt Jessie's home. One home, Zinny's, is filled with life, noise, and people. The other is quiet, filled with samplers on the walls and a more genteel way of life that attracts Zinny. She shares a bedroom with two older sisters who treat her as though she is more than a little strange. This is a rural community where everyone knows everyone, and Zinny feels she has no privacy.

Sorrow influences the lives of the Taylors. Two untimely deaths create introspection and guilt for Zinny. Counterbalancing the sorrow is the crazy way Uncle Nate acts after the death of his daughter and then his wife. Unable to fully accept the loss, he chases his "Redbird", Jessie, and bushwhacks snakes or anything resembling a snake. He runs through the fields and hills surrounding the farm chasing his Redbird.

A boisterous household of children, preschool through teens, contrasts with the "quiet as a tomb" house next door. It provides the backdrop for a close-knit family who love each other and think it strange of Zinny to want to be alone. The antics of the younger boys are humorous.

The trail begins on her family's farm and ends in Chocton, Kentucky, twenty miles away. It symbolizes Zinny's search for adulthood, responsibility, learning about who she is. As it stretches between the two points, Zinny stretches. She learns independence. She becomes comfortable with herself. She becomes introspective and comes to terms with the guilt, self-doubt, and selfishness that are a part of her being. When the trail is completed and the mysteries are solved, Zinny becomes magnanimous, sharing the trail with strangers.

Literary Qualities

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 93

Creech writes with an easy use of figurative language and folksy comments which create vivid images for the reader. The first person account allows the reader to vicariously experience Zinny's struggle to find her place in a large family, cope with grief and guilt, and accept the friendship of Jake.

The use of flashbacks help the reader understand the guilt Zinny feels for the death of her Aunt Jessie and cousin Rose. This device also helps the reader understand the misadventures and misdeeds of Jake Boone as he tries to win her friendship.

Social Sensitivity

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 126

This is a coming of age novel. Readers will identify with Zinny's search for a place that is hers, a place she need not share with others. They will understand the emotional upheaval experienced with the advent of puberty. Many may understand separation through the moving of a friend or death of someone very close. Jealousy is an emotion common to young people. It may be jealousy between siblings or the jealousy of a mother because of her child's intimate relationship with someone else when she wants to be the confidante. Readers may see their own lives as a journey of discovery as they examine the metaphor for Zinny's journey of discovery as she uncovers the physical trail in a literal journey between Bybanks and Chocton.

For Further Reference

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 408

Children's Literature Review, vol. 42. Detroit: Gale, 1997.

Commire, Anne, editor. Something About the Author, vol. 49. Detroit: Gale, 1998. The essay includes a biographical sketch of Creech, a recent photograph, a detailed list of books, a list of awards, and notes on several of her novels.

Cooper, Ilene. Review of Chasing Redbird. Booklist (February 15, 1997): 1054. Cooper says Creech's work is ambitious and asserts that in some aspects it succeeds. She maintains that the trail blazing metaphor for her journey of self-discovery is overdone and at times unbelievable.

Creech, Sharon. "Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech." The Horn Book Magazine (July-August, 1995): 418-25. The text of Sharon Creech's acceptance speech for the Newbery Award for Walk Two Moons.

Heins, Ethel L. Review of Chasing Redbird. The Horn Book Magazine (May-June, 1997): 316-17. A positive review saying the "writing is laced with figurative language and folksy comments that intensify both atmosphere and emotion."

Hendershot, Judy, and Jackie Peck. "An Interview with Sharon Creech, 1995 Newbery Medal Winner." Reading Teacher (February, 1996): 380-82.

Holtz, Sally Holmes, ed. Seventh Book of Junior Authors & Illustrators. H. W. Wilson, 1996, 67-69. An essay about Sharon Creech.

Review of Chasing Redbird. Kirkus Reviews (February 1, 1997): 220. The reviewer, other than placing Zinny in a Virginia mountain family instead of Kentucky, has positive remarks about the writing, characterization, and dialog.

McMahon, Thomas, editor. Authors & Artists for Young Adults, vol. 21. Detroit: Gale, 1997. Entry includes biographical information about Creech, a photograph, and a bibliography of her work.

Review of Chasing Redbird. Publishers Weekly (January 20, 1997): 403.

Rigg, Lyle D. "Sharon Creech." The Horn Book Magazine (July-August, 1995): 426-29. Text of speech about Sharon Creech by her husband at the Newbery Award ceremony for Walk Two Moons.

Stevenson, Deborah. Review of Chasing Redbird. Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (March, 1997): 243.

RELATED WEBSITES
"Achuka Authorfile: Sharon Creech." http:/ /achuka.co.uk/scfile.htm. A short interview with Creech on the website for Achuka Children's Books UK.

"ALSO About Sharon Creech." http://www.ala.org/alsc/creech.html. A brief biography of Creech from the American Library Association.

Educational Paperback Association. "Creech, Sharon."1 http://www.edupaperback.org/authorbios/Creech_Sharon.html. Short, autobiographical sketch by Sharon Creech for the Education Paperback Association.

Ramsey, Inez, site administrator. "Sharon Creech Teacher Resource File." http:/ /falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/creech. htm. Contains links to biographies and teaching guides for units on Creech's novels.

Sheinkin, Rachel. "A Guide to Teaching Sharon Creech's Walk Two Moons, Chasing Redbird, and Bloomability." http://www.harperchildrens.com/schoolhouse/TeachersGuide/creech.htm.HarperCollins, 1998

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