book review


written by
Kate DiCamillo
review by
todd kuchel

Ferris is a feelgood story by Kate DiCamillo, the beloved author of ‘Because of Winn-Dixie,’ amongst many other titles.

Ferris is a wonderfully simple, yet interesting novel about Ferris Wilkey’s summer holiday, before she begins fifth grade at school.

Ferris lives in a large, busy house with her loving mother; father – who is determined to rid the home of a pesky racoon; Pinky, the chaotic, younger sister who dreams of becoming an outlaw; Boomer the family dog; Uncle Ted who has moved into the basement after leaving Aunt Shirley to dedicate his time to painting a history of the world; and Charisse, Ferris’ grandmother who lives in the attic and claims to see a ghost in the house.

With her best friend, Billy Jackson in tow, Ferris’ adventures lead her around the neighbourhood, conversing with people like Aunt Shirley, Teacher Mrs. Mielk, Mr. Buoy, the hardware shop owner, and Billy Jackson’s father, the local restauranteur.

From the explanation for Ferris’ nickname, to the meaningful conversations with her grandmother, the real-world issues, conversations and experiences of Ferris’ tale fill this book with warmth. It is a book that, for me, did not feel as though it was trying hard, but just tells a good story well.

As relationships grow and Charisse claims to understand the reason for the ghost’s presence in the house, Ferris’ acquaintances throughout the book are brought together for an emotional end.

It was refreshing to read of a positive, safe environment full of inspirational characters, in which children could roam their neighbourhood and interact with trustworthy people like teachers and local shop owners.

I believe it gives this book a real community feel, where people look out for one another and strive, not for everything, but for comfort, to look after one another, enjoy a slow pace and be happy.

Although this is a fictional tale, I found the characters and events came so naturally that it was like being a part of a real, loving household.

In my grandmother’s words, I think the best way to sum up this story is, ‘it’s lovely.’

Todd Kuchell

contributor // The barossa mag
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