What do you do when your world collapses around you? Do you do a bit of magical thinking? If you could just drop that last five pounds, your ex-boyfriend would realize how wonderful you are and come back. If you could just land that account, you could get that promotion and your financial worries would all go away.
Raymie Clarke’s world has fallen apart on her, and she just knows that if she can win Little Miss Central Florida Tire 1975, then her father would see her picture in the paper, leave the dental hygienist he’s run away with, and come back to the family. To accomplish this, she needs to learn how to twirl a baton, and that’s how she meets Louisiana Elefante and Beverly Tapinski.
Louisiana has swampy lungs, an unusual take on the world, and has a tendency toward fainting. Beverly is angry, tough, and has taught herself how to pick locks. Raymie has absolutely no idea how to deal with these two, and finds herself swept away by Louisiana’s version of the world, and Beverly’s fearlessness. The three form an unlikely but charming friendship.
I always enjoy Kate DiCamillo’s books, and Raymie Nightingale was no exception. There were such depths to the book that I felt like I needed to be taking notes so that I could write a paper on it for a college class (it’s the literature major in me—sorry.) Don’t hesitate to put this book into the hands of kids who enjoy books about friendship, or who are struggling with adults who have let them down. Don’t be surprised to hear this might be a Newbery contender.