Summary and book reviews of Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Because of Winn-Dixie

By Kate DiCamillo

Because of Winn-Dixie
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  • Hardcover: Mar 2000,
    184 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2001,
    182 pages.

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About this Book

Book Summary

The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket--and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of War and Peace. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar.

Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship--and forgiveness--can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.

Recalling the fiction of Harper Lee and Carson McCullers, here is a funny, poignant, and utterly genuine first novel from a major new talent.

Winner of the 2001 Newbery Honor Award.

Chapter One

My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog. This is what happened: I walked into the produce section of the Winn-Dixie grocery store to pick out my two tomatoes and I almost bumped right into the store manager. He was standing there all red-faced, screaming and waving his arms around.

"Who let a dog in here?" he kept on shouting. "Who let a dirty dog in here?"

At first, I didn't see a dog. There were just a lot of vegetables rolling around on the floor, tomatoes and onions and green peppers. And there was what seemed like a whole army of Winn-Dixie employees running around waving their arms just the same way the store manager was ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
The Short of the Story:

At the start of Kate DiCamillo's Newbery Honor novel, ten-year-old India Opal Buloni has just moved to Naomi, Florida. Her mom has left the family, and her preacher father has been hiding in his old "turtle shell." All India Opal wants is a friend. That's when she finds Winn-Dixie, a stray dog she rescues at the local grocery store. Having Winn-Dixie for a dog is great. India Opal starts to meet people in town, her father starts poking out of his shell, and India Opal even begins to understand why her mother may have left. All of this happens because of Winn-Dixie.

Questions to Discuss:

  1. What brings India Opal and her father to Naomi?
     
  2. Describe Winn-Dixie. What is ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Brush strokes of magical realism elevate this beyond a simple story of friendship to a well-crafted tale of community and fellowship, of sweetness, sorrow, and hope. And it's funny, too. A real gem.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

[E]xquisitely crafted first novel. Each chapter possesses an arc of its own and reads almost like a short story in its completeness; yet the chapters add up to much more than a sum of their parts. . . This bittersweet tale of contemporary life in a small Southern town will hold readers rapt.

School Library Journal (starred review)

This well-crafted, realistic, and heartwarming story will be read and reread as a new favorite deserving a long-term place on library shelves.

The Horn Book Guide

A gentle book about good people coming together to combat lonliness and heartache--with a little canine assistance.

Booklist

Take one disarmingly engaging protagonist and put her in the company of a tenderly rendered canine, and you've got yourself a recipe for the best kind of down-home literary treat. Kate DiCamillo's voice in Because of Winn-Dixie should carry from the steamy, sultry pockets of Florida clear across the miles to enchant young readers everywhere.

Parents Choice

A totally lovable dog and likable characters are part of this humorously gentle, warm, enthralling story about all sorts of friendships. The writing is clear, simple and high quality. A 2000 Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner.

Reader Reviews
Resa Bradley

Love and Hiphop
This book is amazing because it has real live people playing basketball and other sports like soccer, cheerleading, baseball. My favorite sports are tennis and football. This book is cool, nice, amazing, and a good book for children to read. All...   Read More

Emm17

fantastic book
I loved the book. I'm going to see the movie, but I think the book will be better.

Tarick Rogers

Nice Book
Very appealing and awesome in two-thousand seven hundred ninety nine ways. Bye Bye boring books, hello Because of Winn Dixie.

Tarick Rogers

What a awesome book
This book is so amazing. I thought that this book was going to be boring, but every chapter I read there was a part I couldn't stop reading.

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