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The Boy on the Porch

The Boy on the Porch

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The Boy on the Porch

4/5 (10 peringkat)
122 pages
1 hour
Sep 3, 2013


“This quiet novel sings. A graceful profound story for all ages that speaks well beyond its intended audience.” Kirkus (starred review)

Fans of Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech's Ruby Holler will love this tween novel about opening your heart and finding family when you least expect it.

When a young couple finds a boy asleep on their porch, their lives take a surprising turn. Unable to speak, the boy, Jacob, can't explain his history. All John and Marta know is that they have been chosen to care for him.

And as their connection and friendship with Jacob grow, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family and begin to see the world in brand-new ways.

Sep 3, 2013

Tentang penulis

Sharon Creech has written twenty-one books for young people and is published in over twenty languages. Her books have received awards in both the U.S. and abroad, including the Newbery Medal for Walk Two Moons, the Newbery Honor for The Wanderer, and Great Britain’s Carnegie Medal for Ruby Holler. Before beginning her writing career, Sharon Creech taught English for fifteen years in England and Switzerland. She and her husband now live in Maine, “lured there by our grandchildren,” Creech says. www.sharoncreech.com

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The Boy on the Porch - Sharon Creech



The young couple found the child asleep in an old cushioned chair on the front porch. He was curled against a worn pillow, his feet bare and dusty, his clothes fashioned from rough linen. They could not imagine where he had come from or how he had made his way to their small farmhouse on a dirt road far from town.

How old a boy is he, do you think? the man asked.

Hard to say, isn’t it? Seven or eight?

Small for his age then.


Big feet.

Haven’t been around kids much.

Me neither.

The man circled the house and then walked down the dirt drive, past their battered blue truck and the shed, scanning the bushes on both sides as he went. Their dog, a silent beagle, slipped into his place beside the man, sniffing the ground earnestly.

When the man and the dog returned to the porch, the woman was kneeling beside the old cushioned chair, her hand resting gently on the boy’s back. There was something in the tilt of her head and the tenderness of her touch that moved him.


The young couple, Marta and John, were reluctant to go about their normal chores, fearing that the boy would wake and be afraid, and so they took turns watching over the sleeping boy. It did not seem right to wake him.

For several hours, they moved about more quietly than usual, until at last John said, It is time to wake that child, Marta. Maybe he is sick, sleeping so much like that.

You think so? She felt his forehead, but it was cool, not feverish.

They made small noises: they coughed and tapped their feet upon the floor, and they let the screen door flap shut in its clumsy way, but still the child slept.

Tap him, John said. Tap him on the back.

She tapped him lightly at first, and then more firmly, as if she were patting a drum. Nothing.

Lift him up, John said.

Oh, no, I couldn’t. You do it.

No, no, it might scare him to see a big man like me. You do it. You’re more gentle.

Marta blushed at this and considered the child and what might be the best way to lift him.

Just scoop him up, John said.

She scooped up the boy in one swift move, but he was heavier than she had expected, and she swayed and turned and flopped into the chair with the boy now in her arms.

Still the boy slept.

Marta looked up at John and then down at the dusty-headed boy. I suppose I’d better just sit here with him until he wakes, she said.

The sight of his wife with the child in her lap made John feel peculiar. He felt joy and surprise and worry and fear all at once, in such a rush, making him dizzy.

I’ll tend to the cows, he said abruptly. Call me if you need me.

Her chin rested on the child’s head; her hand pat-patted his back.

It’s okay, Marta whispered to the sleeping child. I will sit here all day, if need be.

Their dog normally shadowed John from dawn until dusk, but on this day, he chose to lie at Marta’s feet, eyes closed, waiting. Before John went to the barn, he scanned the drive again and circled their farmhouse. Finding nothing out of the ordinary, he hurried on to his chores.

Marta closed her eyes. It’s okay, it’s okay, she whispered.


She must have dozed off, for she was startled by something tapping her face.

The child’s hand rested on her cheek, his eyes wide, a deep, dark brown, and his face so close to hers that she had to lean back to focus.

Oh! Marta said. Don’t be afraid. We found you here, on the porch, don’t be afraid.

He gazed back at her steadily and then turned to take in the porch, the trees beyond, and the beagle at his feet. He let his hand drop toward the beagle—not reaching for the dog, but as if offering his hand in case the dog should want to sniff it.

The beagle sniffed the hand and then the boy’s arms and legs. He licked the dust from the boy’s feet.

I am Marta, she said. What are you called?

The boy made no motion to move from her lap and he did not answer.

You must be hungry, Marta said. Would you like something to eat? To drink?

The boy looked out at the bushes, the drive.


The boy followed Marta into the house and stood beside her as she cut a thick slice of bread, drizzled it with honey, and set it on a plate beside a ripe pear and a glass of milk. His appetite seemed good, for he ate what was on the plate and licked the honey off his finger. Again he offered his hand to the beagle, letting the dog lick the honey.

Now, Marta said, can you tell me your name?

The boy’s fingers tapped on the table.

Can you tell me how you came here? Did someone bring you?

The boy looked at her pleasantly enough and tapped his fingers lightly on the table, but he said nothing.

When John returned from the barn, the boy regarded him casually. The boy looked all around the room, equally interested, it seemed, in the man and woman standing before him as in the table, the dog, the wooden cabinet, the washbasin, the cupboards.

Look, John, the boy woke up. Her words sounded silly to her ears.

Yes, yes, I see, John said, smiling. His voice had boomed out of his mouth, much too loud. And what might your name be, boy? Still too loud.

The boy licked his lips, tapped his fingers on the table.

He won’t say, John. I’ve tried already.

Is he deaf, do you think?

No, he seems to hear all right. He just doesn’t speak.

Probably too shy, John said. "That’s okay, boy, take

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  • (4/5)
    Sweet story. I wish it had been longer.
  • (4/5)
    What would you do if a strange boy was left on your porch with a note asking you to take care of him until his parents can come back and get him? John and Marta, the couple in this book, have to make that decisions and choose to take the boy in, give him clothes and a name. They discover Jacob can’t talk, but he does have a penchant for art and music. Eventually his father does return to take him away, but Jacob has left his mark on John and Marta, completely changing their lives forever. They continue to help kids by being foster parents and never allowing their home to be empty again, but they always remember that first boy they took in. The book’s easily digestible chapters are meant for middle readers and early young adults. The book does touch on serious issues such as child neglect that may need debriefing with younger students. There are other themes such as how parents handle a boy having artsy talents with a good and negative example and child/animal bonds that readers might be able to relate to. The book is well written and a moving story, though some children might be turned off by the fact that it is told from the parents point of view. Additional Selection.
  • (4/5)
    This Newbery Medal awarding winning author for Walk Two Moons in 1995, once again wrote a book of love and loss. The Boy on the Porch is the story of a young childless couple who find a small boy asleep on their porch. When the speechless boy reached into his dirty pants pocket, he produced a note that said "Plees taik kar of Jacob." "He is a good boy." "Will be bak wen we can."As days and months went by John and Marta loved the child unconditionally. Magically at the same time, a cow was found tethered to their fence, and, in addition a beagle dog was found on their property.The dog followed the boy, the boy rode the cow throughout the pastures. While silent, the child communicated in ways that allowed the couple to understand his needs. A penchant for art and for music, the child flourished with his surrogate parents.Though fearful they would lose Jacob, tentative steps were taken to discover the biological parents. Observing one of Jacobs paintings provided a clue regarding where he came from before the abandonment on the porch.During one particular drive, discovering a small run down trailer and a dirty shoe, Jacob was able to communicate that this was indeed what he remembered. Now the boy wore clean, new shoes that fit, he recalled that previously he wore the ragged shoes with holes.Weeks later, when a rough man suddenly appeared at their doorstep, Jacob ran to Marta for the security of protection. Producing a photo of young Jacob, the local Sheriff allowed Jacob to be taken away.The heartbreak of losing Jacob felt overwhelmingly sad. Throughout the years, after losing Jacob, John and Marta became foster parents to many children. Learning to love and eventually lose was never an easy task. Yet, repeatedly they welcomed other children into their lives.As the years go by, the cow is sickly and the dog is weak. Looking down the lane, over the pastures, John and Marta long for Jacob's return before time expires for his beloved animal friends.Highly recommended. While Creech writes eloquently of human emotions of a tear and a smile, she never pulls the heartstrings too tightly. She plays a fine tune that touches the soul.
  • (3/5)
    It's seems like such a simple story.....
  • (5/5)
    John and Marta are so generosity in caring for Jacob, who doesn't speak, but is an artist who feels deeply. Jacob has a connection with the beagle and cow, whom he rides. The father does return one day for Jacob...a sad day. John and Marta turn their sadness into helpfulness and remain plenty busy. But neither they, nor the beagle or cow, forget Jacob. Finally, the beloved boy returns....tears flow.
  • (5/5)
    Wow! The most beautiful book I've read in ages. Very simple, but amazingly tender and powerful. Creech tells a tale with a lot of unanswered questions that leaves the reader wanting to know so much more about what happened. And yet there is a feeling of accomplishment, that lives have been touched as in real life we don't always know how, but it *does* make a difference. We are shown a small part of that difference when the lives of a couple cross paths with an abandoned boy on their porch. Splendidly written. It is with shame that I admit I have not read this award winning author before. Two things particularly stand out for me. The first is the timelessness of the story. It has no time period. We know the story takes place in the past as there are no modern conveniences, no one uses a phone and yet it is not that long ago as there are cars and attitudes feel closer to today than ages past. Is it the 40s, 50s or is it just a very rural, isolated area? The other aura of mystery surrounding the tale is the boy's condition. Being the mother of an autistic boy myself it seems very certain to me that Jacob is a non-verbal autistic, gifted in music and art whose stims consist of tapping. But his *condition* is never addressed directly or really ever a concern as to what his exact problem is. Jacob is just different and John and Marta who don't know much about children anyway accept him as he is and work with his abilities and what he *can* do. I loved this approach and found it so refreshing! The climax can possibly be seen as sad but the denouement brings a lasting tender sort of happiness and a reality that is genuine in the lives of foster parents and children. The final pages do however bring some closure along with those aching unanswered questions.
  • (3/5)
    I'm having a hard time reviewing this book. I loved it, but I'm not sure if my students, the target audience, will want to read it at all. It's a very quiet, tender book about love and family, and I'm not sure if the mystery behind the boy's past will be enough for kids to stick with it. I can't help but think parents will be much more moved by the story, which focuses on the parents more than the boy, than a child reader will be. I do love Creech though, and her stories nearly always make me cry!
  • (4/5)
    One day John and Marta find a young boy sleeping on their porch chair. With him is a note to take care of him until his parents return. So begins The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech. Of course John and Marta fall in love with the boy, Jacob and vice versa. Jacob is mute and communicating with John and Marta is virtually impossible. However, the farm animals and Beagle seem to understand him fully. He expresses himself through art and music.I won't tell you any more. You'll have to find out for yourself. Geared for 8-12 year olds, The Boy on the Porch will teach you that love is not genetic...it is where it is and you don't have to be biologically related in order to love and be loved.It's a quick, cute read.
  • (4/5)
    Although I'm not sure who this book is really for, I'm glad I read it. While adults will certainly find much to appreciate in the charming and endearing story, children may find the sudden appearance and disappearance of adults, and children, in the story unsettling to say the least. I love Creech's way with a tale, and I cried quite cathartically at the end, I'm not sure I'd recommend it to young readers I know.
  • (3/5)
    A sweet, almost-fairy tale by Creech which treats two of her favorite subjects, rural life and family. I liked it, though I wished there were a bit more of it to like.
  • (5/5)
    I just couldn't put the book down. I enjoyed reading this book and really commend Creech for writing a great piece. I relish the descriptive language. Every image the author wanted to convey to its readers, I saw as I read. On top of that, the book was an easy read. I read the entire book in just an hour and a half so I believe this novel is suitable for children reading on a 3rd and 4th grade reading level. I loved the happy ending and although the book still ended with a mystery unsolved, it didn't matter. Great book!
  • (4/5)
    This book made me cry - the obvious love of the parents for Jacob and their heartbreak towards the middle of the book is overwhelming (especially as a parent myself). What is most loving about this book is that those parents took those emotions they felt towards Jacob and "paid it forward," touching the lives of over a dozen foster children throughout the years. The ending is sweet and happy, a nice balm after the recent spate of dark, dystopic novels on the scene.
  • (4/5)
    Sharon Creech’s tale The Boy on the Porch, is a sweet, straightforward, albeit magical depiction how a family can be created even when the members are not related by blood. A young couple, Marta and John, living on a farm come home to find a boy asleep on their porch. They patiently await for the boy to wake, and when he does, they discover that he does not speak, only taps in a language only he understands. The boy, Jacob, holds a note saying that his guardians will be back for him soon, asking the couple to “plees taik kair” of him. The boy quickly endears himself to Marta and John, whose mounting affection for him make them disinterested in his real family ever finding Jacob.The Boy on the Porch is a lovely tale, especially for foster families or those with adopted children. At times the story seems a little more oriented towards the adults and their emotions, but it may be beneficial for those foster/adopted kids to know the affect they have on the grown ups in their life even when they aren’t officially “theirs.” Readers moving on to chapter books will be able to handle the short, digestible chapters, but some may have trouble with lack of illustration. There isn’t a lot of action in the story; it is more about the emotional journey, making connections and how love builds even with the most unexpected people in your life.