Because of Winn-Dixie (Unabridged Audio Book)

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Read by Cherry Jones
Listening Library
Publisher Catalog Number: 
YA 278
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Short Review: 
Opal has just moved to Naomi, Florida, when she goes to the store one day, and comes home with a dog she names Winn-Dixie - the first of many friends she will make that summer. With a homey southern twang, Cherry Jones <i>becomes</i> Opal (and the many other interesting inhabitants of Naomi) in this wonderful reading of DiCamillo’s Newbery Honor winning first novel.
Long Review: 

The summer she moves with her father to Naomi, Florida looks to be a lonely one for 10-year-old India Opal Buloni. She has no friends, and no one to talk to about how much she misses her mama, who left her and her daddy when she was three. Her daddy, “the preacher”, isn’t much for talking about things that make him sad. But one day, Opal goes to the grocery store for some macaroni and cheese, and she comes back with a dog – a big, scruffy, lovable mutt who smiles at her and melts her heart. Soon, Opal and Winn-Dixie are inseparable. With her big friendly dog and her own big-hearted kindness, Opal begins winning new friends amongst the interesting inhabitants of Naomi – who, like Winn-Dixie need Opal as much as she needs them. By summer’s end, the big emptiness she felt upon moving to Naomi is replaced by a heart that’s “swell[ed] up inside me with pure happiness.” With her homey southern twang, the Tony Award-winning stage actress Cherry Jones delivers a wonderful performance – she becomes Opal, and the many other interesting inhabitants of Naomi: Miss Franny, the elderly librarian at the Herman W. Block Memorial Library who loves to tell stories; Otis at the local pet store, who creates magic with his guitar; Miss Gloria Dump, whom local children think is a witch, but who turns out to be one of Opal’s best friends; and pinch-faced Amanda Wilkinson, who is hiding her own painful secret. Reading with sensitivity and a straightforward simplicity, Jones captures Opal’s innocence and her big-hearted empathy for others. This extraordinary and touching first novel is at once a simple story about a girl and her dog and something much more than that – it is a story about people (and a special dog) finding and gaining strength from one another in this uncertain world.

Lauren Mayer