Kate DiCamillo says of writing BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, "I was living in an apartment where no dogs were allowed. As a result, I was suffering from a serious case of 'dog withdrawal.' One night, before I went to sleep, I heard this little girl's voice (with a Southern accent) say, 'I have a dog named Winn-Dixie.' When I woke up the next morning, the voice was still talking, and I started writing down what India Opal Buloni was telling me. The book is (I hope) a hymn of praise to dogs, friendship, and the South."
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 Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Poignant and delicately told.
--New York Times Book Review, The
A heartfelt story that is sure to touch a chord with
--School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
...[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.
--Publishers Weekly, starred review
This well-crafted, realistic, and heartwarming story will be
read and reread as a new favorite deserving a long-term place on
--School Library Journal, 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
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
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
It's the kind of book people love and tell their friends to
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
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 . . .
. . . carefully touches on big issues: abandonment, loneliness,
empathy and belonging.
--San Francisco Chronicle
an enchanting little book with a touch of magic, a cast of great
characters, and a lot of real life and wisdom.
A gentle book about good people coming together to combat
lonliness and heartache--with a little canine assistance.
--Horn Book Guide, The
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.
--Five Owls, Book of Merit
It's rare to recommend a book for all ages but here we have
BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE by Kate DiCamillo.
A tale not just about a dog found in a grocery store; it's also
about the healing power of truth.