Rummanah Aasi
  Because of Winn-Dixie is Kate DiCamillo's debut novel and a Newbery Honor winner. I've heard much about the book but never actually read it until now. I had really high expectations for the book due to its popularity and felt a bit underwhelmed after finishing it.

Description: Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie.

Review: Because of Winn-Dixie joins the long tradition of fiction exploring a small southern town's eccentric characters. The story is bittersweet, simple, and a quick read. It's summer, and 10-year-old India Opal Buloni moves with her preacher father to tiny Naomi, Florida. She's lonely at first, but she finds a stray dog at a grocery store named Winn-Dixie and names him accordingly. The young girl immediately takes to Winn-Dixie and her companion helps her befriend a group of lovable, quirky locals, eventually bringing her closer to her father and the truth about her mother, who left the family when India was 3.
  Told in India's sensitive, believable voice, the story is most successful in detailing the appealing cast of characters, including Otis, an ex-convict, musician, and pet store manager; Miss Franny, a Willie Wonkaesque librarian whose "Litmus Lozenges" candies taste like sorrow; and nearly blind Gloria Dump, whose tree hung with empty liquor bottles reminds her of "the ghosts of all the things I done wrong." While some of the dialogue and the book's "life lessons" can feel heavy-handed at times, readers will connect with India's love for her pet and her open-minded, free-spirited efforts to make friends and build a community. I wanted to feel moved when I finished the story, but I ended up feeling as if I read a similar story before. Not really exciting but not that bad either. 

 Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There are allusions to Opal's mother being an alcoholic. Otis was allegedly arrested for killing someone, but seems shy and reserved. The kids in the book refer to Otis as being "retarded". I would recommend this book to readers who are in Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles, Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
3 Responses
  1. I've always wanted to read this one. I've read Tale of Desperaux but not this one. Thanks for the reminder!


  2. I think they made this into a movie. I like the idea of the Southern charm, but I think you are right. I have read plenty of books that are similar to this and I doubt it would move me as well. I am not a fan of the retard thing either. Welcome back :)


  3. Candace Says:

    My daughter is in third grade and is reading this now. Now I'm slightly concerned about some of the content, but I guess I can just have a discussion with her. I haven't read this one, but I have read lots of Kate's other books and loved them. We actually met her early in the summer and got all of her books and my daughter has really been loving them.
    I did watch this movie and I liked it a lot.


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