Poetry Box review: Kate DiCamillo’s Louisana’s Way home

My July Challenge: Recycling Groovy Fish titles

(July 10 WTN, July 16 AKLD)  My Groovy Fish events





Kate DiCamilo, Louisiana’s Way Home, Walker Books, 2019

‘Follow-up to the New York Times Bestselling Raymie Nightingale, from an internationally revered author, twice winner of the Newbery Medal.’


Louisiana Elefante wants to write her story down – she begins with her great-grandfather (he was a magician) who had laid down a ghastly curse. And then she begins with her Granny whipping her out of the house in the middle of the night and driving away saying the time had come! Mysterious yes! Curious yes!

Louisiana Elefante does not want to leave her home, friends, cat Archie and a one-eyed dog called Buddy. She does not want to go. She is desperate but they drive and drive until they run out of petrol and her granny gets such a ferocious toothache something must happen.

Louisiana Elefante is sad and cross and feels helpless but she is also a RESOURCEFUL girl which means she figures how to make the best of what she’s got. So (I will not tell you how) they end up in a small town in Georgia.

This story is so addictive with its twists and turns and secrets, with its sad patches and warm glows, I could not stop reading it.

I kept thinking I needed to light the fire but I kept reading.

I kept thinking I needed to pull the curtains but I kept reading.

I keep thinking I wanted a cup of peppermint tea but I kept reading.


I read and read and read in one big glorious gulp until there were no more pages left to read because I wanted to find out what happened to Louisiana.

I love the characters: especially the Burke Allen family (they are all called Burke Allen except the extremely lovely mum) and Reverend Obertask – and of course Louisiana.

This novel is all about belonging; about home, about families, friendships, secrets and the very best kindnesses. You will find cakes in here – I could almost smell the pineapple-upside-down cake all sticky and sweet – because Betty Allen (the mum) is a magnificent cake baker.

Some things stay hidden in this novel (perhaps that leaves room for another one) and we have to guess at things. Little gaps and guessing at things can be very rewarding when you read a book – especially when they are combined with characters so full of living you want to hug them.

This is a splendid FULL OF HUMAN WARMTH book – and now that I have finished it I can light the fire, and pull the curtains and make a cup of peppermint tea and let the whole thing run through my head again from the two beginnings to the ending. Perfect!


Walker author page

Kate DiCamillo is one of America’s most beloved storytellers. She is a former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and a two-time winner of the Newbery Medal, for The Tale of Despereaux and Flora & Ulysses. Born in Philadelphia, she grew up in Florida and now lives in Minneapolis, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week.







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