Candlewick Press, 2016
Audience: Children, Younger Teens
Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.
This wasn’t my favorite Kate DiCamillo book, but it wasn’t bad. I did enjoy the sweet story of friendship and the quirky personalities. More importantly, the girls in Raymie Nightingale had grown-up problems. They helped and supported each other through it, and it was nice to read about girls coming together as opposed to tearing each other down. Overall, I think that this was a book Kate DiCamillo really needed to write for herself, and it turned out well.