This is the third and final book in the Book to Movie Challenge. It is written for a middle elementary school audience and tells the story of India Opal whose father is a preacher in a small town. Winn-Dixie is the dog she adopts at the start of the story and the catalyst for change as Opal (as she is called) adapts to life in a new town.
I actually saw the movie of this book before I read the book. That's somewhat backwards for me since I normally read books first, but it was a hot summer day and the movie was $1.00!
I truly enjoyed the book. I loved the character of Opal and how she related to the dog. I also loved the quirkiness DiCamillo created in the characters Opal befriends in the town. I wish I had read the book first because I wonder how I would have pictured these people with my own imagination. It was hard to shake the actors' images from my head as I read.
I did find one significant difference from the book to the movie. In the movie, I found the father to be much more distant, and almost mean, at points in the story. However, in the book, I quite liked the father and felt somewhat sorry for him. He seemed a bit distant and dreamy, but did not have the hard edge I perceived in the movie. I wonder if it was intentional or simply my reaction to the actor in the role.
Overall, I found the book charming and would recommend it highly. It made me wish I still taught fourth or fifth grade because it would be a fun book to discuss with children. Let me know if you've read it and what you thought. I'd be especially curious to know how you felt about the father in the movie.