I read this book on the recommendation of a student who suggested it for a readaloud and was immediately seconded by another. So I read it to myself first, though I had been thinking of doing so anyway. Something about DiCamillo's books leaves me uneasy, like I should have enjoyed it more, but I had this same problem with Despereaux. DiCamillo's portrayal of characters with disabilities has always rubbed me the wrong way (the girl with the bad ear in Despereaux, the woman in the wheelchair in this), but I don't think that's it. I enjoyed the story, sweet and all twined up together (which I love), but it left me unfulfilled and not in a good way (e.g., His Dark Materials, etc).