Reviews for Because Of Winn Dixie

by Kate DiCamillo

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

When Opal, who has just moved to Naomi, Florida, takes in a stray dog, he immediately begins easing her troubles, helping her make friends, who in turn help her come to terms with the fact that her mother abandoned her and probably won't be back. A gentle book about good people coming together to combat loneliness and heartache--with a little canine assistance. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 4-6-India Opal Buloni, 10, finds a big, ugly, funny dog in the produce department of a Winn-Dixie grocery store. She names him accordingly and takes him home to meet her father, a preacher. Her daddy has always told her to help those less fortunate, and surely Winn-Dixie is in need of a friend. Opal needs one, too. Since moving to Naomi, FL, she has been lonely and has been missing her mother more than usual. When she asks her father to tell her 10 things about her mother, who left the family when Opal was three, she learns that they both have red hair, freckles, and swift running ability. And, like her mother, Opal likes stories. She collects tales to tell her mother, hoping that she'll have a chance to share them with her one day. These stories are lovingly offered one after another as rare and polished gems and are sure to touch readers' hearts. They are told in the voice of this likable Southern girl as she relates her day-to-day adventures in her new town with her beloved dog. Do libraries need another girl-and-her-dog story? Absolutely, if the protagonist is as spirited and endearing as Opal and the dog as lovable and charming as Winn-Dixie. This well-crafted, realistic, and heartwarming story will be read and reread as a new favorite deserving a long-term place on library shelves.-Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A 10-year old girl learns to adjust to a strange town, makes some fascinating friends, and fills the empty space in her heart thanks to a big old stray dog in this lyrical, moving, and enchanting book by a fresh new voice. India Opal's mama left when she was only three, and her father, "the preacher," is absorbed in his own loss and in the work of his new ministry at the Open-Arms Baptist Church of Naomi [Florida]. Enter Winn-Dixie, a dog who "looked like a big piece of old brown carpet that had been left out in the rain." But, this dog had a grin "so big that it made him sneeze." And, as Opal says, "It's hard not to immediately fall in love with a dog who has a good sense of humor." Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal meets Miss Franny Block, an elderly lady whose papa built her a library of her own when she was just a little girl and she's been the librarian ever since. Then, there's nearly blind Gloria Dump, who hangs the empty bottle wreckage of her past from the mistake tree in her back yard. And, Otis, oh yes, Otis, whose music charms the gerbils, rabbits, snakes and lizards he's let out of their cages in the pet store. 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. (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

DiCamillo's debut novel, a 2001 Newbery Honor Book, percolates with heartfelt emotion and eccentric Southern color as superbly performed by Tony Award-winning actress Jones. Ten-year-old Opal, lonely in the Florida town where she has just moved with her preacher father, instantly takes a shine to a scraggly stray dog she encounters in the local Winn-Dixie supermarket. The pooch, named for their meeting place, becomes a trusted companion with whom Opal can share her thoughts and fears, and her hurt, confused feelings about the mother who left the family when Opal was three. Winn-Dixie is soon helping Opal in other ways, too. The dog's "smile" and sweet temperament act as ice breakers that allow Opal to meet a whole new group of friends who grow to be an unusual extended family. Jones imbues her depiction of Opal with a tone of youthful, hopeful wonder and skillfully transforms her voice to distinguish the other older, life-weathered characters. A Tennessee native, she never sounds hokey as she adopts a Southern accent, and she effortlessly slips into a compelling storytelling rhythm. This is a top-notch treatment of an award-winning tale. Ages 8-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 4-6-In this audio version of Kate DiCamillo's Newbery Honor book (Candlewick, 2000), ten-year-old Opal Buloni's life is changed for the better when she takes in a stray dog she finds running wild in a grocery store. With Winn-Dixie (named after the store she found him in) by her side, Opal starts to make friends in the small town of Naomi, Florida where she has recently moved. More importantly, she is able to come to terms with her feelings about her mother who abandoned her years earlier. Performed by Tony award-winning actress Cherry Jones, this is one of the few audio books that actually transcends the book itself. The story is presented through Opal's first person point of view, and Cherry Jones becomes southern-twanged Opal, sharing the story of her first summer in Naomi. Jones' seamless performance is honest and believable, and she pulls listeners in like a master storyteller. This great production of an award-winning book definitely belongs in every library audio collection.-Lori Craft, Itasca Community Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Gr. 4^-6. Like Kimberly Willis Holt's When Zachary Beaver Came to Town (1999), this novel joins the long tradition of fiction exploring a small southern town's eccentric characters. It's summer, and 10-year-old India Opal Buloni moves with her preacher father to tiny Naomi, Florida. She's lonely at first, but Winn-Dixie, the stray dog of the title, helps her befriend a group of lovable, quirky locals, eventually bringing her closer to her father and the truth about her mother, who left the family when India was 3. Told in India's sensitive, believable voice, the story is most successful in detailing the appealing cast of characters, including Otis, an ex-convict, musician, and pet store manager; Miss Franny, a Willie Wonkaesque librarian whose "Litmus Lozenges" candies taste like sorrow; and nearly blind Gloria Dump, whose tree hung with empty liquor bottles reminds her of "the ghosts of all the things I done wrong." While some of the dialogue and the book's "life lessons" can feel heavy-handed, readers will connect with India's love for her pet and her open-minded, free-spirited efforts to make friends and build a community. --Gillian Engberg


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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