Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press, March 2000) is called Because of Winn-Dixie because it tells of the things that happened because Winn-Dixie, a dog, came into Opal’s life.
The first thing was that Opal found Winn-Dixie. Opal was lonely. She just had moved to a new town, and she had no friends and now she had Winn-Dixie.
Winn-Dixie helped Opal find friends. She met Miss Franny the librarian and Miss Franny was now friends with Opal because Winn-Dixie looked like a bear, and she remembered a time when a bear came in the library. Miss Franny needed a friend too because she was lonely.
Opal also met Otis, the pet store worker. They became friends when Winn-Dixie needed a collar, but it was too much money, so Opal decided to work there. Otis needed a friend because he was lonely since getting out of prison.
One day when Opal was biking with Winn-Dixie and Winn-Dixie ran to the “witch’s” home, she met Gloria Dump and they become close friends. Gloria cooked and Opal read to her. Gloria Dump needed a friend too because she was old.
I liked this book because it has a good lesson about friends.
Reviewed by C., age 9
Because of Winn-Dixie is a sweet book about friendship with a strong sense of place with the Florida setting. The main conflict is Opal’s loneliness and her relationship with her father, a preacher. Over the course of the summer, Opal makes friends, as my daughters mentions above, and ultimately Opal ultimately askes her father about her mother, who left when she was young. All of these conversations and friendships come from the influence of Winn-Dixie in their lives. All the friendships come together at the end of the book, and a sweet resolution helps all the people appreciate one another as they gather and as they love that friendly dog. Well worthy of the Newbery Honor!
Because of Winn-Dixie is a 2001 Newbery Honor book.