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Book Review: Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

India Opal Buloni lives in a small town in Florida with her father, who is a preacher in the local church. She's a lonely girl who hasn't made many friends since moving to town. When she finds a stray dog in the grocery store, she decides to take him home and save him from a trip to the pound. As they spend their summer together, Winn-Dixie ends up saving Opal too.

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo is a children's novel written at the early fourth grade reading level. I recently spent several months reading and discussing the book with a group of second grade students. We all enjoyed this story of a girl and her dog. It actually explores a lot of deeper topics than I had expected. Opal's mother left when she was young, so there's a large emphasis on her wanting to know more about her mother. There is also a lot about her befriending various characters in the town, including the librarian, pet store clerk and a woman the local boys think is a witch.

Some of the themes the book explores include friendship, forgiveness, courage and compassion. I expect some aspects of the story went a bit over my group's head since they are on the young side for this book. But the main ideas that you should be kind and compassionate to others, and that you should judge people by who they are now, not by what they've done in the past seemed to resonate with the kids. They also liked the many funny scenes with Winn-Dixie and some of the other characters.

Overall, I'd recommend Because of Winn-Dixie to elementary kids who would like a fun book that has a bit more depth. Kids who are able to pay attention and comprehend at a higher level will get more out of it, but younger readers will still enjoy the story. There are some sad parts, but in the end, it is an uplifting book.

My Rating: 4/5

This review was written based on a copy of Because of Winn-Dixie that I borrowed from my daughter's teacher.


  1. I'd heard of the movie - and knew it was a book, but had no idea it was this interesting. Thanks for the thoughtful review.

    1. It really was different than I had expected. We all enjoyed it!

  2. I watched this movie a long time ago and it was really sweet. I didnt know it was a book! <3 Bee @ Bee Reads Books

    1. I haven't watched the movie. Perhaps I'll watch it with my daughter. I think she'd like that.

  3. You know, come to think of it, I don't think I ever read Because of Winn Dixie - I just saw the movie with my kids! Well, the movie was great, too.

    I love that you are doing this book group with the class!

    We also LOVED Tiger Rising and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by DiCamillo.


    Book By Book

    1. I'll have to check those out. I didn't enjoy Tale of Despereaux, which is another of her books, so I was leery of Winn-Dixie. But I'm glad I read it because I did like it.

  4. I didn't realize Because of Winn Dixie was a kids' book. I remember hearing of the movie but never saw it. Guess I'll have to pick it up for my elementary schooler. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup. Pinning to our linkup board and hope you join us again this weekend.

    1. Thanks! We watched the movie on the weekend and it was good too.


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