Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
Enjoyable for both kids and parents
on July 21, 2015
We love Kate DiCamillo books. Our first ones were the Mercy Watson books and Leroy Ninker... I remember back when the movie came out (which I haven't seen), not realizing it was based on a book. The book reviews were so good, we knew we had to try it, and did not disappoint.
The story is told in first person by the protagonist, Opal. She's just moved Florida with her dad (whom she refers to as "the preacher" more than "my dad" when talking about him). Her mom isn't in the picture, and although we don't know her present situation, her absence is poignantly addressed, and we do learn some things about her. Opal and the preacher live in a trailer park, and he has set up his new church in an erstwhile convenience store. Opal's pretty lonely in her new town and is finding it hard to make friends. The book begins with her finding a mutt who's causing a ruckus in a Winn-Dixie. Not wanting the dog to get in trouble by the store manager, she pretends he is hers, claims that his name is the same as the store's, and brings him home and convinces her dad to keep him. Different things involving Winn-Dixie spark new opportunities and friendships for Opal.
I found Opal to be likeable and realistic. I loved how DiCamillo developed this character's emotions over time.
My almost-8-year-old son really liked the book. We read it together as a bedtime story, 1-3 chapters a night. I really liked the ending, but my husband and son weren't satisfied and felt like the story was meant to continue. Unlike some age-appropriate chapter books, this was one I could get into.