The Washington Post

KidsPost review of ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’

C191-4 Opal (AnnaSophia Robb) forms a fast friendship with a stray dog she has rescued and named Winn-Dixie. Photo Credit: Suzanne Tenner TM and © 2005 Twentieth Century Fox. All rights reserved. Not for sale or duplication. (suzanne tenner)

Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo.
Best for age 8 and older (but also makes a great read-aloud for younger kids). 182 pages.

There are some characters you like immediately, and India Opal Buloni is such a character. Say her name out loud (yes, it does sound like a lunch meat), and just try not to smile.

The fact that 10-year-old India can smile and make the reader smile is pretty remarkable. She has just left her friends to move to a trailer park in Florida with her father, who is a preacher. Her mom abandoned the family years before, and India knows that this still makes her father sad.

One day, the preacher sends India to the Winn-Dixie grocery store for a box of macaroni, and she comes back with a dog. “He was a big dog. And ugly. His tongue was hanging out and he was wagging his tail. He skidded to a stop and smiled right at me. I had never before in my life seen a dog smile, but that is what he did.”

You see, India has a way about her that makes everyone she meets want to smile.

And the people she meets in this book — including a librarian who tells wild stories, a blind woman with a “mistake tree” in her back yard and a man with a love of music who has been in jail — are so interesting and kindhearted that their love helps make India smile, too.

— Tracy Grant

Show Comments

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.