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Because of Winn-Dixie Paperback – August 6, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Through the love she gains from her new pet, a girl gains the courage to ask her father about the mother who abandoned them. "In this exquisitely crafted first novel [a Newbery Honor book], each chapter possesses an arc of its own and reads almost like a short story in its completeness," said PW in our Best Books of 2000 citation. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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." --------
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
Selected titles were chosen by the editors based on the following criteria: strength of story line, clarity or presentation, quality of illustration, and estimated appeal to children or adolescents. "A heartfelt story that is sure to touch a chord with readers." --------
Horn Book Guide, The
"A gentle book about good people coming together to combat lonliness and heartache--with a little canine assistance." --------
New York Times Book Review, The
"Poignant and delicately told." --------
Minneapolis, MN Circ = 682,000
"an enchanting little book with a touch of magic, a cast of great characters, and a lot of real life and wisdom." --------
Five Owls, Book of Merit
"Children will enjoy Opal's abiding humor and Winn-Dixie's disarming and endearing ways, and the funny and important things that happen when the two of them get together." --------
San Francisco Chronicle
". . . carefully touches on big issues: abandonment, loneliness, empathy and belonging." --------
"It's rare to recommend a book for all ages but here we have BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE by Kate DiCamillo." --------
"Both kids and grown-ups love it . . . it's a great read-aloud book . . . it has scooped up numerous awards . . . it's an unforgettable story about making friends . . . " --------
"It's the kind of book people love and tell their friends to read." --------
Minneapolis, MN Circ = 682,000
"DiCamillo doesn't shy from bad things, and while she validates a child's sense of grief and loss, she also hold open life's possibilities." --------
"In this Newbery Honor Book, the author skillfully weaves a variety of characters together to show the meaning of friendship." --------
"This lively coming-of-age story touches on friendship, loss, and understanding." --------
Midwest Book Review
"An honest, well written story that will tug at your heart." --------
"The books' truthfulness is what makes it so powerful. People can identify with the fact that everyone sort of isolates themselves because of a misconnection or a loss or whatever is in their lives." --------
Scholastic Administrat@r Magazine
Featured in list of the top 10 children’s chapter books of the last 25 years.
Top customer reviews
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Ten year old India Opal (or just Opal, as her dad calls her), has just moved to a new, small town in Florida. Between having to leave her friends behind, her dad being too wrapped up in his work as the local preacher, and still feeling the sting of a mother who abandoned her and her dad when she was little, Opal feels completely alone and out of place in her new home. But everything changes when, one day while food shopping, she comes across a peculiar stray dog who's friendly to people, listens to everything she says, and can even smile. Naming the dog Winn-Dixie after the supermarket she found him in, she quickly takes in the stray and gives him a home. And over the course of one eventful summer, Opal gets into all sorts of little misadventures as she slowly makes friends and forges a new, makeshift family for herself...and somehow, each one of her small victories is all because of Winn-Dixie.
The writing isn't as eloquent as "The Magician's Elephant", but then again, that story was aimed more at an older crowd, while this is told through the eyes of a ten year old. Opal is an instantly likeable and relatable main character, as she quietly deals with feelings of loss and abandonment throughout the story, but remains polite and positive to everyone she meets. All of the characters she comes across, from the town librarian who's full of stories and unique candy, to the old woman who's rumored to be a witch, to the man at the pet shop who can tame animals with music, Opal soon comes to find that all these people have experienced some sort of sadness or tragedy in their lives, and that maybe all anyone in this town needs is a friend. It makes me wish that I lived in this town with these quirky, but loveable people.
And like the title suggests, all of Opal's adventures and encouragement to come out of her shell is all somehow due in part to the actions of her new found dog, Winn-Dixie, who is a quirky character all of his own. No one knows where the dog came from, but it's clear he might've been searching for a new family as well, which makes him instantly connect with Opal. Together, the two unexpectedly unite this tiny little community, and by story's end, everyone will come to find that a person's past doesn't define them, and that there's a lot of power in the act of forgiveness (be it to another person, or even yourself).
The book is fairly short (you can read it in an afternoon), and while normally I'd want the story to be longer, here, I think the length is just about right. It says what needs to be said with just enough description, and moves at a good pace without dragging anything out for too long. If you're in the mood for a laid back, feel-good story with some Southern charm, or if you're an animal lover, then this is the book for you. It's definitely deserving of its status as a classic of children's literature.
It is a wonderful book with an uplifting message how everyone has loneliness in them. But, you can get over loneliness and help others get over their loneliness without realize you are creating a web of friendships of people who then become friends with each other.
Have a party, invite me. I'll bring the potato salad and juggle.
This book is listed as appropriate for grades 2-4, but I would dare to say it can be enjoyed by all ages. Most definitely older kids would fall under Edward’s spell as well. And as a read-aloud, it just can’t be beat. I read this one to my students over a period of several weeks, and each day they begged for “just one more chapter.” The chapters are short, but each one leaves you wanting just a bit more.
Kate DiCamillo is a highly acclaimed children’s author, one whose stories have received numerous awards. Her gifts to us have included Because of Winn Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux among others. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is another of those books destined to become a favorite on bookshelves everywhere, a story to be read over and over again.