As a newly minted admirer of Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie, I scooted over to the author's web site to look around. She has posted a tribute to The Borrowers books, testifying that their magic still works for her.
Magic. That's a word I'd apply to Winn-Dixie, too. I don't know when I've been as charmed by a novel. Most of you know this book, I'm sure, but just in case, here's quick summary: a young Southern girl and her preacher daddy move to a new town and must re-adjust. Smoothing their way is a lovable stray dog, who makes friends wherever he goes. Humor and melancholy, loneliness and companionship—DiCamillo balances everything so easily that I wanted her book to keep going on and on.
Some children may be mature enough for Winn-Dixie at six or so, but I will wait until my soon-to-be first-grader is a few years older. Part of the story deals, in a gentle way (but, still), with the girl's abandonment by her mother. For an older child accustomed to chapter books, DiCamillo's novel would be a wonderful read-aloud before seeing the movie; I'd love hearing the funny dialogue.
Later this month Kate DiCamillo's first early chapter book, Mercy Watson to the Rescue, is due in the stores. The hero is a pig; she and her cohorts are rendered by Chris Van Dusen. I can't wait to see it!