One evening, as soon as 10-year-old Opal goes come the local Winn-Dixie grocery store store, she encounters a big ugly dog to run wild in the create department. To conserve the dog indigenous going come the pound, Opal makes up a surname for the dog—Winn-Dixie—and insists the he’s hers. She leads the dog residence to the Friendly acres Trailer Park wherein she and also her daddy, “the preacher,” live. Opal defines to Winn-Dixie the she and also her dad recently moved to Naomi, Florida so the he could end up being the preacher that the open Arms Baptist Church in town. Since he safety so much time concentrated on the occupational of gift a preacher, Opal describes him together “the preacher” in she mind. She likewise often thinks of him together a tortoise retreating into his covering to avoid thinking around sad things. Fortunately, Winn-Dixie makes a an excellent impression top top the preacher, and he enables the dog come stay.

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Opal bring away Winn-Dixie outside to bathe him. As she cleans him, she tells him whatever she knows about her Mama. It isn’t much: Mama left 7 years ago, and also according come the females at church, the preacher still hopes that she’ll come back. Opal wants to know much more about her, but she’s fear to ask. Winn-Dixie raises his eyebrows and also sneezes in response, therefore Opal agrees to ask the preacher to tell her more. Earlier inside, Opal does just that. The preacher how amazing agrees come Opal’s request to tell she 10 things around Mama. The shares the she was a fun-loving woman that loved stories and growing things. However, she additionally hated being a preacher’s wife and was one alcoholic. His final reality is the Mama loved Opal. Opal points the end that Mama quiet left her, however the preacher corrects her the Mama left both that them. Opal goes to she room to memorize the list.

Winn-Dixie quickly becomes a component of the family. He it s okay to go anywhere with Opal and the preacher, even to church, together he howls if he is left alone. The an initial time the attends church, he records a mouse to applause from the congregation. During the silent prayer, Opal tells God the she’s lonely due to the fact that none the the other children want to be friends with her, and also she wants to call Mama the story of Winn-Dixie recording the mouse.

Opal security a most her summer in ~ her neighborhood library. Winn-Dixie waits outside and also looks in the windows. One day, Opal hears a scream and also discovers the yonsi librarian, miss out on Franny Block, cowering since the be affected by each other “came back.” Opal infers that miss Franny is talking about Winn-Dixie, assures the old lady the he’s simply a dog, and brings Winn-Dixie within so they have the right to listen come the story of the time a bear entered the library. When miss out on Franny is done telling the story, she claims sadly that there’s no one lively who additionally remembers the incident—all her friends room dead. Opal suggests that she, Winn-Dixie, and Miss Franny it is in friends, in order to making her first friend in Naomi. As soon as a “pinch-faced” girl named Amanda comes in and demands another book, miss Franny winks at Opal.

As Winn-Dixie starts come look healthier, Opal decides he demands a collar. She goes to Gertrude’s Pets and selects an high-quality red leather set, however the employee, Otis, awkwardly refuses to let Opal work-related out a payment plan. Instead, he agrees that Opal deserve to work for the set by clean the shop, but only if Gertrude the parrot likes Winn-Dixie. Surprisingly, she does. Exterior the shop, Opal bumps right into Sweetie Pie Thomas, a five-year-old native church. Sweetie Pie says she loves Winn-Dixie and also wants a dog similar to him. She also invites Opal to her sixth birthday party in September. Opal feels happy.

One day, as Opal rides residence from Gertrude’s Pets, two boys named Dunlap and Stevie journey behind her, whispering. She think they look choose “bald-headed babies” since their heads room shaved throughout the summer. Suddenly, Winn-Dixie take away off and also leaps a gate right into an overgrown garden. Stevie insists the the witch is going come eat Winn-Dixie, for this reason Opal insults the boys and also enters the garden. She discovers Winn-Dixie eating peanut butter the end of the hand the a laughing old woman. The mrs doesn’t look favor a witch at all. She introduce herself together Gloria Dump and also offers to do Opal a peanut butter sandwich. As they eat, Gloria describes that she’s virtually blind, for this reason she demands Opal to share everything about herself so that she can obtain to recognize her without see her. Opal speak Gloria everything. When she’s finished, Gloria argues they plant a tree to watch if Opal has actually a environment-friendly thumb like Mama. The tree doesn’t look choose a tree and also Gloria doesn’t recognize what that is, so she calls the a “wait-and-see tree.” Gloria tells Opal she can come back any time.

Opal wakes in the middle of the night come Winn-Dixie whining and also beating his head versus her bedroom door—there’s a thunderstorm raging outside, and also he’s terrified. She allows him the end of she room, i m sorry wakes increase the preacher. Winn-Dixie runs and knocks the preacher come the ground. Then, Opal and the preacher sit and also watch Winn-Dixie run roughly the trailer. They discuss that Winn-Dixie has actually a pathological fear of thunderstorms, however the preacher insists the they need to keep Winn-Dixie safe—he could run away by accident. Opal loves the preacher because that saying this and also for wanting to safeguard Winn-Dixie.

Opal arrives at an early stage for her an initial day that work. She enters Gertrude’s Pets and encounters an odd sight: Otis is playing etc for every the animals, which are out of their cages hearne attentively. Otis stop playing when he look at Opal, and the shop plunges right into pandemonium. Opal and Otis try to cage the animals until Opal speak Otis to begin playing again. Through the animals once again subdued, Opal place them every away. Once they’re done, Otis admits the he take away the animals out on purpose—he’s been in jail and also knows what it feels favor to be locked up. As soon as Opal is finished working, she thinks that the preacher wouldn’t choose her functioning for a criminal. Sweetie Pie meets Opal outside and asks if Otis is a magic man; she saw him “charm” the animals. As Sweetie Pie operation ahead to tell her mama around Otis, Opal desire she might tell her own Mama everything.

Every day, Opal goes from Gertrude’s pet to miss out on Franny to Gloria’s. Dunlap and Stevie taunt her daily on her way to Gloria’s, therefore Opal always arrives exhausted. Gloria argues that Opal is taking points too personally; the boys can want to it is in friends. Opal no convinced. Opal tells Gloria a brand-new story every day, since Gloria can’t get glasses solid enough anymore to be able to read. One day, Opal decides to share the Otis is a criminal and asks if she must be afraid of Otis. In response, Gloria leads Opal to a tree hung with alcohol bottles. She defines that the bottles are the ghosts of all the points she’s done wrong and admits the she was as soon as an alcoholic; she drank the contents of every party on the tree. Gloria insists that even nice people have done bad things and insists that she learned the most necessary thing—but quite than say what the was, Gloria insists the it’s different for everyone. Opal stares in ~ the tree for a long time, wonder if Mama additionally has a tree of bottles.

Miss Franny has fits sometimes, and when she does, Winn-Dixie comforts her. Opal thinks that he comforts miss Franny as with she comforts Winn-Dixie, however Opal is involved that no one comforts Gloria. She decides to carry out that herself by discovering Gone through the Wind and reading the end loud come Gloria. This prompts miss Franny come tell Opal and Amanda the story of she great-grandfather Littmus W. Block, who fought in the polite War. He to be thrilled to fight because that the cause, however he soon discovered out that “war is hell”—and as soon as it was over and also he changed home, he discovered that his entire family died. When Littmus realized he want candy, the vowed to concentration on making the ugly people sweeter and opened a candy manufacturing facility in Florida. It made Littmus Lozenges. Miss out on Franny provides candies to both Opal and Amanda. Both girls agree the it tastes great but somehow additionally tastes sad. Miss Franny says the candy has a mystery ingredient: sadness. Youngsters usually can not taste it, therefore both girl must have experienced sorrow. Amanda looks all set to cry, says it provides her think the Carson, and runs away. Opal is perplexed by this, however she bring away candies for every her various other friends. Top top her way to Gloria’s, she decides to tide at Dunlap. He tide back.

Gloria remembers eat Littmus Lozenges as a child and also is happy to hear to Gone through the Wind. As soon as Opal provides a liquid to the preacher that night, he seems to withdraw and also says that the liquid tastes “melancholy.” He speak Opal that he speak to Dunlap and also Stevie’s mama; Opal needs to apologize because that insulting them. Once Opal asks, he additionally shares the Carson to be Amanda’s five-year-old brother—but he drowned critical summer. Opal stays up because that a long time, reasoning that life is a confusing mix of sweetness and sadness. Opal provides a lozenge to Otis the following morning. It renders him cry, as it tastes choose being in jail. He shares why he was jailed: that wouldn’t protect against playing music ~ above the street and also knocked the end a cop once they make the efforts to make him. Opal understands that Otis is just lonely. Sweetie Pie spits her candy out because it tastes prefer not having a dog. Opal thinks the everyone is lonely. The afternoon, as she reads around Scarlett’s barbecue in Gone v the Wind, Opal says that the means to fix whatever is to throw a party at Gloria’s. Gloria agrees come host, yet only if Opal agrees come invite Dunlap and also Stevie.

All the Opal’s friend agree to pertained to the party, also Amanda—though Opal needs to promise to work-related for free for a mainly to convince Otis. Gloria teaches Opal to do egg salad sandwiches and a punch, and also they decorate her garden through candles and crepe paper. The guests arrive and awkwardly greet one another, despite Stevie and Dunlap room still missing. Just after Otis arrives, that starts come thunder and also pour under rain. In the sirloin to get everyone and also the food inside, Opal realizes the she forgot Winn-Dixie—and currently he’s gone. She grudgingly greets Dunlap and also Stevie as soon as they arrive. Gloria whispers come Opal that she can’t organize onto anyone who desire to leave, however Opal top out with the preacher to look because that Winn-Dixie. Lock look anywhere town and also as castle do, Opal compiles a perform of 10 things about Winn-Dixie. She realizes, however, the a perform cannot truly describe her finest friend. Once the preacher insists the they have to stop looking, Opal accuses the of not trying hard enough to keep Mama from to run away. The preacher insists that he couldn’t keep her and also starts to cry. Opal embraces him and also the preacher ultimately says the Mama no coming back. The says, however, that Mama left one essential thing behind as soon as she left: Opal.

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Opal and also the preacher go back to Gloria’s house without Winn-Dixie to find everyone singing. Opal is enraged until Gloria expose Winn-Dixie, that was hiding under she bed and also started sneezing as soon as Otis played his guitar. Everyone ended up being friends while Opal and the preacher to be out. Content, Opal slips exterior to the failure tree and tells Mama the she i will not ~ think of her as much going forward, however she knows the Daddy will certainly talk more about she in the future. Then, she checks she wait-and-see tree and discovers the it’s tho small, however it’s stronger. Dunlap helps her up, and then they and also Amanda head back inside to sing songs and eat Littmus Lozenges with their friends.