Monday, May 28, 2007

Because of Winn-Dixie -- Kate DiCamillo

I can't resist reading kids' books, and this was a good one. I think it's aimed at about ages 6-10, which made it just fine for me. Winn-Dixie, as some of you know, is a grocery chain, but in this book it's the name of a big, ugly, friendly dog. Because on Winn-Dixie, a girl named Opal learns 10 things about her mother (who left Opal and her preacher father when Opal was a baby), makes friends (with a woman people think is a witch, with an ex-con, a librarian, another girl, and a couple of boys), gets a job sweeping a pet store, and throws a party. It's funny and touching. Great stuff if you like that sort of thing, and I do now and then. So does the Newberry Committee, because this was an honor book in 2001. Check it out.

4 comments:

Mystery Dawg said...

Yes, this is a good book. I read them all along with the Caldecots before they go into the library. The one thing I've noticed is that more adult issues are being discussed in these books. For example in the 2007 winner they talk about the 12 step program. I'm not sure that all parents want their 4-6th graders reading these theme based novels.

Bill Crider said...

Not quite as hardboiled as your usual fare. This is going to play hell with your street cred.

Todd Mason said...

Well, let's put it this way...the year I was born, 1964, saw Sterling North's non-YA memoir RASCAL as a runner-up/Honor Book, and also an Honor book my favorite YA book of my appropriate years, Ester Weir's contemporary western THE LONER, about a sharecropping orphan YA-age boy whose first close friend, apparently a beautiful girl of similar age, is brutally if accidentally killed by a combine in the first few pages. He then makes his way north in a daze and falls in with a broken family of shepherds. The winner that year, IT'S LIKE THIS, CAT, was an urban variation on THE LONER, probably what got it the edge (or perhaps the Wier was seen as too hardboiled). Jean George's JULIE OF THE WOLVES, an early 1970s winner, involves a teen forced to marry a developmentally-disabled teen boy who rapes her, leading her to wander out on the tundra and find herself interacting with a pack of wolves, while vaguely thinking of how she might visit a San Francisco pen pal...later, she conflates SF with the airborne hunters who shoot some of her wolves for the "sport."

Adult issues, often meaning the issues adults force on young teens in real life much more than in novels, are a fixture and have been for some time.

Bill Crider said...

Even this one's pretty edgy (Opal's mother left because she was an alcoholic). Or so I thought. I'm an old guy. What do I know?