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Book Detail

Because of Winn-Dixie

Because of Winn-Dixie Author Kate DiCamillo
Publisher Candlewick Press
ISBN 0763607762
Publication Year 2000
Honors Newbery Honor
Reading Level 3.9
Main Character Age 10
Main Character is Human
Summary (Publisher"s Summary)
Ten-year-old Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie.

Subject Matter Summaries

Summary Details For Positive Elements:

Throughout the story Opal befriends the outcasts such as a single female librarian, a pet store clerk who had been in prison, and an partially blind woman who is thought by the town's citizens to be a witch. Opal discovers many wonderful traits in all of them. p. 14 References are made about Opal's father helping suffering people. p. 166 When Winn Dixie runs away, Opal said to her father, "I bet you just let [my mother] run off, too." The father's response is moving when he cries and says "I tried. I tried." p. 167 The fact that the father raises Opal is admirable. An especially warm moment is when Opal’s father says to her, "Thank God your mama left me you!" and hugs her.

Summary Details For Mature Subject Matter:

DEATH p. 124 A young child’s drowning is mentioned. WAR p. 104-109 Miss Franny tells the story of her ancestor who fought in the civil war and endured much suffering. His house was burned down, his father was killed, and his family died of disease. CRISIS Throughout the book Opal learns to deal with her mother’s abandonment, which leads her to reach out to other "outcasts" of society. p. 21 Background information shared in the early pages of the story explains that Opal was abandoned by her mother.

Summary Details For Profanity/Language:

DEGRADING COMMENTS Retarded p. 90 Steve Dewberry refers to Otis as "retarded." Stupid p. 91 Opal tells Gloria Dump the Dewberry boys are "stupid." MILD OBSCENITIES H*ll p. 104, 105 Franny Block refers to war as "h*ll" and Amanda Wilkinson says that is a cuss word. RELIGIOUS EXCLAMATIONS ”Lord”, “Oh Lord” p. 118, 136 Ms. Dump, uses the expression, "Lord," to express surprise.

Summary Details For Sexual Content:


Summary Details For Violence/Illegal Activity:

MILD VIOLENCE p. 61 The neighborhood boys believe that Gloria Dump is a witch and they tell Opal that she will eat Winn-Dixie. VIOLENCE p. 131 Otis tells of an incident from his past when he hit and knocked out a police man who was trying to arrest him for playing his music.

Summary Details For Tobacco/Alcohol/Drugs:

ALCOLHOL REFERENCE / USE p. 29 The father explains to Opal that her mother liked to drink beer and whiskey and sometimes could not stop. "Sometimes she couldn't stop drinking. And that made me and your mama fight quite a bit." p. 95 – 96 When discussing the Gloria Dump's drinking past, a reference is made to Opal’s mother’s drinking problem. Gloria Dump shows Opal a tree covered with empty alcohol bottles. She says it is there to "keep away the ghosts of all the things I done wrong." Gloria explains that she put them there because she is the one who drank them all and now she no longer drinks.

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Summary Details For Disrespectful/Anti-Social Elements:

LYING TO OTHERS WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES p. 9 -10 A big, scraggly dog loose in the grocery store with no apparent owner prompted the owner of store manager to ask someone to call the pound. Opal said, "Wait a minute. That's my dog. Don't call the pound "in order to save the dog from the pound. During the same incident, Opal called the dog "Winn-Dixie" and declared to the manager that this was truly the dog's name. These "lies" became truths when Winn-Dixie did become Opal's dog and his name remained the same.