cover image Raymie Nightingale

Raymie Nightingale

Kate DiCamillo. Candlewick, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8117-3

Set in 1975, this tender novel shows how even when life seems out of one’s control—people die, parents disappoint—persistence and belief pay off. The story is told from the perspective of Raymie Clarke, whose father has just run off with a dental hygienist. Raymie, however, has a plan to bring him back: she will win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire contest, get her picture in the paper, and her father will come running home. The plan inspires her to take a baton-twirling class, where she meets Beverly Tapinski—a girl with a chip on her shoulder, who vows to sabotage the contest—and ingenuous Louisiana Elefante, an orphan who claims to be the daughter of the famous Flying Elefantes. With extraordinary skill, two-time Newbery Medalist DiCamillo traces the girls’ growing trust in each other while using understated confessionals and subtly expressed yearnings to show how tragedies have affected each of them. The book culminates with a daring cat-rescue mission: fraught with adventure, danger, and a miracle or two, the escapade reveals how love and compassion can overcome even the highest hurdles. Ages 10–up. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Apr.)