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.
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.
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 ...
If you liked Because of Winn-Dixie, try these:
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Eleanor "Groovy" Robinson loves cooking, but things start to go wrong the year she turns eleven - suddenly, her father is in jail, her best friend's long-absent mother reappears, and the swallows arrive early.
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