Small town charm and a smiling dog: Delightful “Winn Dixie”
Title: Because of Winn-Dixie
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Genre: middle grade
What does a great story need? Most of all, a strong voice. A narrator who pulls in the readersr and takes them along on an irresistable journey. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo has all that. And it's all told in a sparse, simple tale that's perfect for fourth grade readers.
India Opal arrives in a small Florida town with no friends and a hole in her heart where her mother used to be. She lives in a trailer with her preacher father and desperately wants friends. The first one she finds is a mangy stray she calls Winn-Dixie. As the summer progresses, she meets a range of eccentric people, young and old, all with their tales to tell.
India Opal achieves her goal of making friends, and more--she helps those hometown strangers all become friends with each other, too--and she states that it's all "because of Winn-Dixie." Sensitive readers know that it's also because of India Opal's ability to listen to others and open her heart to all.
What makes this book so fantastic is the simple, clear voice of the main character. And her selfless honesty. And williness to love. And accept reality. So many charactaristics that are important in a kid growing up and making her way in the world.
A great read for any kid (or grown-up). A Newberry Honor book.
Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie was made into a charming movie, a must-see after reading the book. A great cast including Dave Matthews as the pet shop clerk.