Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 406
That summer, Opal spends a lot of time at the local library to relieve her loneliness. The Herman W. Block Memorial Library is just a small house full of books, not a large, impressive place like other libraries. It is run by a little old lady named Miss Franny Block. Miss Block is the first friend Opal makes in Naomi.
Opal gets to know Miss Block through an incident created by Winn-Dixie. Still feeling broken-hearted at being left alone, the dog does not like going to the library because he cannot go inside while Opal is inside hunting through the shelves. Opal teaches Winn-Dixie how to stand on his hind legs outside the library’s window so he can still see her while she roams the aisles looking for books. This calms Winn-Dixie, but one afternoon Miss Block sees the dog standing tall against the window outside the library and thinks he is a bear. Afraid, Miss Block screams and hides on the floor behind her desk. Opal runs over to Miss Block to see what the matter is, and Miss Block tells her there is a bear outside the window. Opal tells Miss Block that what she thinks is a bear is actually her dog, Winn-Dixie. Miss Block is reluctant to believe Opal because the animal is very big and very hairy, but the girl assures the old lady that she is telling the truth. Opal helps Miss Block off the floor, and Miss Block is embarrassed by the way she has acted.
Miss Block tells Opal that she once had an experience long ago with a bear that wandered into the library while she was alone one afternoon. Opal wants to hear the story, but Miss Block tells her that it is a very long story. Not taking the hint, Opal tells her that she likes long stories just like her mother does, and she asks if Winn-Dixie can come inside to hear the story too. Miss Block says that dogs are not allowed inside the library. But Opal does not wait for further answers from Miss Block, and she runs outside to get Winn-Dixie. Opal assures Miss Block that Winn-Dixie will behave nicely inside the library, and the dog lies next to Miss Block, wagging his tail and sniffing her feet. Miss Block remarks that Winn-Dixie is a large dog, and she pets his head before beginning her long story about the bear.