Saturday, January 29, 2011

Because of Winn-Dixie

DiCamillo, K. (2000). Because of Winn-Dixie. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.

Plot Description:
One summer, India Opal Buloni (Opal) and her father move to Naomi, Florida because her father has taken on the position of preacher at a church in town. Opal soon befriends a stray dog, named Winn-Dixie, who she feels a special connection to, having been left by her mother when she was a baby. Opal is lonely in this new town, having left all of her friends behind. Through her own kind demeanor and Winn-Dixie's friendly spirit Opal befriends an interesting mix of friends who, along with Winn-Dixie, teach her about love, loss, and friendship.

Because of Winn-Dixie had me laughing and crying the entire way through. As the reader, I was immediately drawn to Opal through her kindness of spirit. Anyone who has ever been the new kid in town could easily identify with her struggles at leaving behind her old life and trying to make a new one. I enjoyed the odd mix of friends Opal meets and the lessons learned from each. The characters were all very well developed making the reader feel as if they were experiencing these lessons of love, loss, and friendship right along with Opal.

Realistic Fiction

Reading Level:
Grades 4 - 7

Similar Books:

friendship, relationships, loss, single-parent

Newbery Honor Book, Josette Frank Award

Character Names/Descriptions:
India Opal Buloni (Opal) is a preacher's daughter new in town who immediate befriends a stray dog, Winn-Dixie. She and her dog befriend an interesting mix of friends.

Winn-Dixie is a stray dog taken in by India Opal Buloni. Through his friendly demeanor and toothy smile, he gives Opal the courage to make new friends.

Being the new girl in town has Opal feeling lonely and missing her absent mother more than ever. Through the friendship of a stray dog, Winn-Dixie, Opal is able to make new friends who learn from one another the lessons of love, loss, and friendship.

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