Raymie Clarke is a young girl who has a plan all laid out. She has to learn how to twirl the baton so that she can enter the Miss Central Florida Tire competition so that she can become famous and her daddy who ran away with a dental hygienist will come back home. Unfortunately on the application, there is a place to list all the good deeds you have ever done. So she decides to read to a resident of a nursing home - and then it all goes downhill from there.
Accompanied by her baton-mates, arrogant and confident Louisiana Elefante of the Flying Elefantes, and Beverly, she sets out on a journey and soon discovers everyone has their own journey as well. Louisiana is searching for her lost cat that was dropped off at Very Friendly Animal Clinic and Beverly has a few secrets of her own. Together they all learn to help each other and begin a lifelong friendship.
Nothing about this book screams "PICK ME UP!" but the press for this book was non-stop and the good reviews kept pouring in. So on a whim, I decided to pick it up at my local library and give it a try. For an adult, it is a pretty quick read, but the target audience here is obviously kids.
Some of the best books are the ones with the lowest expectations - this was a fun, adventurous book that featured some highly memorable characters. When I graduated from undergraduate at the University of Florida, our speaker for the ceremony was none other than Kate DiCamillo who had just had the book Because of Winn-Dixie turned into a movie. So for me, reading this book was pretty neat just because I had never read anything by her before. I can definitely say that the book was funny, well-written, and touched on some deeper themes that are refreshing to see in children's literature. DiCamillo shows us throughout this book that she is quite the veteran, polished writer, offering a nice, fluid story that never grows dull.
For me, this book is definitely one I'll be recommending. I oftentimes have kids sit in my exam chair with books and I try to make recommendations to them, writing down books I'd think they'd enjoy based on what they brought to the exam to read. I'll be adding this one to my recommended list and also think some adults will enjoy it as well. It was one of those books that after you finish, you close the book and just smile, thinking to yourself, 'that was a good book'.
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.