About the Book

Book Protagonist: Opal Buloni
Publication Date: 2000
Genre: Children, Teen and Young Adult


Because of Winn-Dixie

By Kate DiCamillo

‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ is a thriller belonging to the middle grade and packed with self-help lessons for defeating nostalgia and unsociability - for a chance to fully appreciate and be happy with life as it is.

With ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’, readers will find how much of futility it is to hold onto the past and not let go of it. Opal doesn’t enjoy her life – and by extension fails to appreciate the few people and little things around her – because she’s rooting to catch up with a happy past. Thankfully, Winn-Dixie comes along and shows her how to move on.

A Delightful Story of Friendship Found in Unlikely Places

Kate DiCamillo’s bestseller ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ is one book that shows the reader how even the most unlikely things can happen when they are less likely to happen.

The reader sees that Opal, despite her lovable and amiable personality, has something going on that greatly troubles her mind and that is her need for a companion. She has just recently moved into a new city with her father the preacher, so it’s normal for anyone to find it hard to make friends for the next couple of days maybe even months – but this so happens quicker than Opal expected.

She goes out to the supermarket on an errand for her father and surprisingly returns home with a big, mangy dog along with groceries. This dog, which she names Winn-Dixie, becomes the unlikely animal friend which connects the dots for all the other unlikely future friends and happiness which Opal goes on to enjoy.

Fast-paced, Poignant, and a Little Lacking in Depth

The story starts really quickly and gets interesting fast. Opal is 11 years old, but she immediately throws us back into her past of last summer when she was 10 years old. Personally, I think why Kate DiCamillo got the book so fast-paced was because she intended for it to be quite a small one, so there aren’t many pages to sleep on and lag.

Reading the book, I thought this might come off as maybe the only downside to the book. Yes, the story is great and each scene is filled with captivating suspense, but I thought there isn’t enough time or depth created for each suspense so they just come and go in a sort of jiffy fashion – preventing the reader to have an extended moment with it.

Letting Go, a Vital Key to True Happiness

Opal is a happy girl, but you could feel she doesn’t quite explore the depth of her happiness due to a few situations she’s putting up with. First, she’s just moved into a new city with her father, the preacher, apparently leaving her old friends behind. And as someone who has moved before I could understand how hard it gets to settle or even make new friends when you’re new in town.

Second, she still holds onto the hope of mama, her mother, coming back home to her and the preacher. Although thinking about mama gets her excited, it indirectly also saps her joy and energy afterward that she has none left to spend on real people around her.

When Winn-Dixie comes along, he teaches Opal the first lessons about letting go and making new, happy friends. Once she cues into this as a lifestyle, she is able to unlock her greatest happiness, but that comes with a sacrifice of letting go of mama and thoughts concerning her.

There’s a Sweet Feeling When Bitter Experiences are Shared

Everyone has a sad past or something that greatly disturbs them when it comes to mind, and there’s no difference between the characters that Kate DiCamillo created for ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’. It’s interesting, however, to see a bit of magic in play regarding how the characters’ sad past is unexpectedly stirred up by a sweet taste of candy.

Old Miss Franny Block tells a story of how her great grandfather, Littmus Block, founded a candy factory after the civil war because he wanted to make the world a better, sweet place after the devastating effect of the war – which also took the life of all his family members. Littmus set up this candy factory and it started manufacturing a candy called Littmus Lozenges, although made sweet but also with a taste of sadness.

In the book, we see Miss Franny sharing some of the candies with the characters; Opal who takes some to Gloria Dump and her father the preacher; young Amanda who is an ardent visitor of the library; Otis who was in jail – and the others. Despite the sweetness of the candy when eaten, these characters, each, have sad trips down memory lane but are again united by their shared feeling of sadness.


How long does it take the average reader to finish Kate DiCamillo’s ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’?

Starting and finishing Kate DiCamillo’s ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ is easy and can typically take a few hours within a day for that to happen.

Why does Littmus Lozenges candy taste sad?

Littmus Lozenges, in the book, are made with sadness as part of its recipe, so when people eat them, they feel the pain of a certain void in their hearts. But the candy is also sweet at the same time.

Is ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ a good read?

Because of Winn-Dixie’ by Kate DiCamillo is a very interesting book to read and it’s suitable for both children and adults alike.

Because of Winn-Dixie Review
  • Plot
  • Language
  • Characters
  • Setting
  • Climax

Because of Winn-Dixie Review: True Happiness Sometimes Lies In The Smallest, Negligible Things

Because of Winn-Dixie‘ by Kate DiCamillo reminds the reader how sometimes what holds one’s true happiness isn’t some far away, complicated people or things, but the small, unlikely things around us. DiCamillo drives this message through her main character Opal Buloni, leaving several life lessons with every turn of a page. Written more than twenty years ago – and having won the prestigious Newbury award, the book never gets old, and it’s suitable for both the young and old.


  • Captivating story
  • Concise and easy to read
  • Full of helpful morals and values


  • Plot lacks depth
  • Refreshes sad wartime memories
  • Too many naive characters
Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
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