India Opal is new to Florida and happens upon a dog that becomes her own. This Newbery Honor Book follows her as she discovers her new city and the people who live there. The reading pace is easy as the main character expresses herself well and provides talking points for an adult to guide a reader through – such as abandonment and choices people make.
This book is a bit different from DiCamillo’s style of Tale of Despereaux, in that it is more simply told from the perspective of one character and is more true to life. The main theme of the book is the feeling of needing to belong and loving what and who one has, as well as letting things and people go who do not want to stay.
I wish the author had gone into more detail. The characters are so interesting and set up so beautifully that the reader can relate easily to them. By the end of the book, I wanted to know what the future held and where their stories led. However, as with any book, an author is limited to how much to tell and how much to leave to the reader’s imagination.
Profanity/Language: 4 mild obscenities.
Violence/Gore: A few depictions of events during the Civil War; deaths of loved ones; report of police officer being hit and man being arrested.
Mature Subject Matter:
Child abandonment, minor employed by man previously incarcerated (for hitting a cop), health issues (seizures).
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Mother of character alcoholic; bottles of alcohol as decoration.