In her seventh novel, international bestselling author and twice winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal Kate DiCamillo blends pathos and humour. ‘Raymie Nightingale’ is masterful writing and will remain with the reader long after the last baton has been twirled. I am so pleased that Walker Books Australia has trusted me with the Australian cover reveal of the paperback edition of Raymie. This is a cover that does the words within proud, as all good covers should. Don’t tell me you can’t judge a book by it’s cover because we all do, and cover design these days is crucial as we have all become shrewd consumers of visual design. This one nails it.
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 has run away 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, but she has to compete with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante with her 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 them to come to each other’s rescue in unexpected ways.
‘Raymie Nightingale’ is one of those novels that you just never want to end because you have come to love and deeply invest in the lives of the characters. With extraordinary skill, DiCamillo has woven a story of incredible depth, with reflections on life, death, friendship and the state of ones soul, and yet it does not drag the reader down in complexity and content. As in all of her works, each written word is carefully considered, and only those that are utterly useful make the cut. DiCamillo books are a privilege to read – they just work and they leave you feeling that the world can sometimes be a truly magical place. And sometimes, this is just how I need to feel.
Kate DiCamillo is touring Australia in April as part of the Schools program at this year’s Sydney Writer’s Festival. In Qld the only public event is hosted by the lovely crew at Riverbend Books. Excitingly, my Girl Zone Book Club group have an intimate little gathering planned with her also, not open to the public. These girls have have no idea how lucky they are and I am slightly beside myself!
I can’t recommend all of the Kate DiCamillo books highly enough, ‘Flora and Ulysses’ is another favourite of mine and is truly absurd in the best possible way. Click on covers below to read more about each title.
About the Author
Kate DiCamillo is one of America’s most well-regarded storytellers, author of The Tale of Despereaux and Flora and Ulysses, both of which have been awarded the prestigious Newbery Medal; Because of Winn-Dixie, which received a Newbery Honor; The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, which won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; and the bestselling Mercy Watson series. Born in Philadelphia, she grew up in Florida and now lives in Minneapolis, USA, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week.
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