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4 December 2018 LOUISIANA’S WAY HOME by Kate DiCamillo, Candlewick, October 2018, 240p., ISBN: 978-0-7636-9463-0


“It’s the same story the crow told me

It’s the only one he know.

Like the morning sun you come

And like the wind you go.

-- Garcia/Hunter (1969)


“I cried until we crossed over the Florida-Georgia state line.

But then something about the state line woke me up. State lines can do that. Maybe you understand what I am talking about and maybe you don’t. All I can say is that I had a sudden feeling of irrevocableness and I thought, I have to get out of this car. I have to go back.

So I said, ‘Granny, stop the car.’

And Granny said, ‘I will do no such thing.’

Granny has never listened to other people’s instructions. She has never heeded anyone’s commands. She is the type of person who tells other people what to do, not vice versa.

But in the end, it didn’t matter that Granny refused to stop the car, because fate intervened.

And by that I mean to say that we ran out of gas.”


LOUISIANA’S WAY HOME is so well written, that it took me nearly as long to figure out what to say first about it as it took me to read it.


Maybe I should start by noting that the sequence of events that befalls twelve year-old Louisiana Elefante, combined with Louisiana’s manner of explaining this sequence of events, caused me to repeatedly swing back and forth between rolling on the floor and having my jaw hit the floor.


It took me all of twelve pages to interrupt my reading and email a sixth-grade reading buddy to advise him that he needs to check this one out. Of course, by page 12, we’ve just met the guy who pulls over to help Louisiana and Granny, and who Granny persuades to bring them to and from a gas station and, then, to both pump and pay for that gas.


Page 12 shortly precedes the events that lead to Louisiana’s first driving experience. The way that Louisiana details this excursion is so funny and astonishing that by page 30 I had to restrain myself from getting on Facebook to tell every person with whom I have any connection that they need to read this book right now!


Louisiana’s first driving experience ends in Richford, Georgia. The collection of friends and fiends and helpers whom she encounters there, combined with the book’s title, had me recalling Dorothy clicking the heels of the glittery red slippers and repeating three times, “There’s no place like home.”


LOUISIANA’S WAY HOME is billed as a companion to Kate DiCamillo’s RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never read RAYMIE. But, as one of the two or three people in the entire children’s lit/librarianship world who hasn’t done so, I feel that it’s important to state from experience that this book stands alone perfectly well.


Filled with humor, heart, and hair curlers; a dead, stuffed alligator; and a crow named Clarence, LOUISIANA’S WAY HOME is one of the best of 2018, and one you don’t want to miss,


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Pickshttp://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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