Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo, 272 pages.
I've read a bunch of Kate DiCamillo's books to my children. This was the first that I have read (or rather listened to) by myself. DiCamillo's books are always interesting even as they are all very different from one another.
Raymie Clarke's father has left home to be with a dental hygienist, and Raymie believes that if he were to see in the newspaper that she has won the upcoming Little Miss Central Florida Tire contest, that he would surely realize what a mistake he has made and he'll return and everything will be alright again. Since she has no idea how to go about winning the contest, she enrolls in classes offered by a local legend in the pageant-winning world in order to learn baton twirling and whatnot. In those classes she meets the two girls who become her friends, Beverly and Louisiana. Each girl is as quirky as Raymie, and though they each have their own agenda, Louisiana to win the contest for the money, and Beverly to sabotage the contest, they join forces to help one another.
A very good book.
This was a Christmas gift for several family members.