Suzette has already posted an awesome review here. It is her review that convinced me to read this book. And here I must make my guilty confession: The first time I read it, I thought it was just okay.
It's a nice enough story, I thought. Maybe kind of simple for a sophisticated reader like myself, and those asides to the “gentle reader” are kind of distracting, but it’s a pleasant tale. Nice. Did I mention that it’s nice?
Then, I decided to read it to my daughter. Reading it aloud, I suddenly heard rhythms and cadences in DiCamillo’s writing that hadn’t been evident before. The words rolled off my tongue. They were almost hypnotic. Those asides to the reader felt natural and inviting. And the book was suddenly funny. My eavesdropping husband actually burst out laughing once. My daughter and I (and my husband, too, if he’d admit it) were enchanted.
I am repentant. This book is a delight, but one best enjoyed read aloud. Even if you don’t have children, try reading it aloud. I promise I won’t tell. 4/5 stars