Authors: Kate DiCamillo
Table of Contents
Also by Kate DiCamillo:
The Magician’s Elephant
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
The Tale of Despereaux
The Tiger Rising
Mercy Watson to the Rescue
Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride
Mercy Watson Fights Crime
Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise
Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig
Something Wonky This Way Comes
The author owes a joyful debt to Betty DiCamillo, Linda Nelson, Amy Ehrlich, Jane Resh Thomas, Liz Bicknell, the Wednesday night group, the Monday night group, and to Kara LaReau, founding member of the
Because of Winn-Dixie
Fan Club and editor extraordinaire.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or, if real, are used fictitiously.
Copyright © 2000 by Kate DiCamillo
Cover illustration copyright © 2000 by Chris Sheban
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in an information retrieval system in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, taping, and recording, without prior written permission from the publisher.
Winn-Dixie ® is a Federally Registered trademark and service mark owned by The Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. This work has not been prepared, manufactured, approved, or licensed by The Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. Neither the author of this work nor its publishers are in any way affiliated with The Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc.
First electronic edition 2009
The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows:
Because of Winn-Dixie / Kate DiCamillo. — 1st ed.
Summary: Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie.
ISBN 978-0-7636-0776-0 (hardcover)
[1. Dogs — Fiction. 2. City and town life — Florida — Fiction. 3. Florida — Fiction.] I. Title.
[Fic] — dc21 99-34260
ISBN 978-0-7636-1605-2 (paperback)
ISBN 978-0-7636-4432-1 (reformatted paperback)
ISBN 978-0-7636-4945-6 (electronic)
99 Dover Street
Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
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y name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog. This is what happened: I walked into the produce section of the Winn-Dixie grocery store to pick out my two tomatoes and I almost bumped right into the store manager. He was standing there all red-faced, screaming and waving his arms around.
“Who let a dog in here?” he kept on shouting. “Who let a dirty dog in here?”
At first, I didn’t see a dog. There were just a lot of vegetables rolling around on the floor, tomatoes and onions and green peppers. And there was what seemed like a whole army of Winn-Dixie employees running around waving their arms just the same way the store manager was waving his.
And then the dog came running around the corner. He was a big dog. And ugly. And he looked like he was having a real good time. His tongue was hanging out and he was wagging his tail. He skidded to a stop and smiled right at me. I had never before in my life seen a dog smile, but that is what he did. He pulled back his lips and showed me all his teeth. Then he wagged his tail so hard that he knocked some oranges off a display, and they went rolling everywhere, mixing in with the tomatoes and onions and green peppers.
The manager screamed, “Somebody grab that dog!”
The dog went running over to the manager, wagging his tail and smiling. He stood up on his hind legs. You could tell that all he wanted to do was get face to face with the manager and thank him for the good time he was having in the produce department, but somehow he ended up knocking the manager over. And the manager must have been having a bad day, because lying there on the floor, right in front of everybody, he started to cry. The dog leaned over him, real concerned, and licked his face.
“Please,” said the manager. “Somebody call the pound.”
“Wait a minute!” I hollered. “That’s my dog. Don’t call the pound.”
All the Winn-Dixie employees turned around and looked at me, and I knew I had done something big. And maybe stupid, too. But I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t let that dog go to the pound.
“Here, boy,” I said.
The dog stopped licking the manager’s face and put his ears up in the air and looked at me, like he was trying to remember where he knew me from.
“Here, boy,” I said again. And then I figured that the dog was probably just like everybody else in the world, that he would want to get called by a name, only I didn’t know what his name was, so I just said the first thing that came into my head. I said, “Here, Winn-Dixie.”
And that dog came trotting over to me just like he had been doing it his whole life.
The manager sat up and gave me a hard stare, like maybe I was making fun of him.
“It’s his name,” I said. “Honest.”
The manager said, “Don’t you know not to bring a dog into a grocery store?”
“Yes sir,” I told him. “He got in by mistake. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.
“Come on, Winn-Dixie,” I said to the dog.
I started walking and he followed along behind me as I went out of the produce department and down the cereal aisle and past all the cashiers and out the door.
Once we were safe outside, I checked him over real careful and he didn’t look that good. He was big, but skinny; you could see his ribs. And there were bald patches all over him, places where he didn’t have any fur at all. Mostly, he looked like a big piece of old brown carpet that had been left out in the rain.
“You’re a mess,” I told him. “I bet you don’t belong to anybody.”
He smiled at me. He did that thing again, where he pulled back his lips and showed me his teeth. He smiled so big that it made him sneeze. It was like he was saying, “I know I’m a mess. Isn’t it funny?”
It’s hard not to immediately fall in love with a dog who has a good sense of humor.
“Come on,” I told him. “Let’s see what the preacher has to say about you.”
And the two of us, me and Winn-Dixie, started walking home.