Kate DiCamillo
Kate DiCamillo
Ferris by Kate DiCamillo


Candlewick Press, March 5, 2024
ages 8 and up
ISBN 978-1-5362-3105-2

Get ready for a hilarious and achingly real love story about a girl, a ghost, a grandmother, and growing up.

It’s the summer before fifth grade, and for Ferris Wilkey, it is a summer of sheer pandemonium: Her little sister, Pinky, has vowed to become an outlaw. Uncle Ted has left Aunt Shirley and, to Ferris’s mother’s chagrin, is holed up in the Wilkey basement to paint a history of the world. And Charisse, Ferris’s grandmother, has started seeing a ghost at the threshold of her room, which seems like an alarming omen given that she is also feeling unwell. But the ghost is not there to usher Charisse to the Great Beyond. Rather, she has other plans — wild, impractical, illuminating plans. How can Ferris satisfy a specter with Pinky terrorizing the town, Uncle Ted sending Ferris to spy on her aunt, and her father battling an invasion of raccoons? 

Read the Reviews

 DiCamillo’s gift for conveying an entire person and world in a few brushstrokes of storytelling provides depth and quiet magic to this account of an eventful summer … Tenderly resonant and memorable. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

 Terrifically zany, it certainly is, but it’s also wonderfully grounded in deep familial bonds, a tight-knit community, and the beautiful idea that every relationship is a love story in its own way. The kindly town and its eccentric inhabitants come to life via comical anecdotes and gorgeous descriptions, and it all sets the stage for some truly transcendent moments that will leave readers in a state of wonder, no matter their age. It’s a spectacularly silly and perfectly sincere exploration of what it means to stay tenderhearted in a sometimes challenging world … It’s a DiCamillo! That alone should get patrons lining up for this one. (Booklist, starred review)

Populated by offbeat, compelling characters with rich histories, this bustling and empathetic tale by DiCamillo (The Puppets of Spelhorst) ponders the courage it takes to love someone and the necessity of inconvenience in life through the eyes of one emotionally curious tween. (Publishers Weekly)

The limited third-person narration glimpses other lives but never dwells on them, thus leaving Ferris’s honest, preadolescent perspective to drive the story line. As Clarisse tells Ferris, “Every good story is a love story.” Here, DiCamillo adeptly proves this axiom. (The Horn Book)

Kate DiCamillo’s latest balm-for-the-soul of a novel … Ferris is full of love … deeply satisfying. (The New York Times Book Review)

DiCamillo’s latest work is a sweet and heartfelt effort … dialogue shows the author’s characteristic charm. (School Library Journal)

Folksy charm and wholesome whimsy mark this as an easy readalike to DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie (BCCB 6/00), and the endearing portrayal of a loving family in disarray has just enough tension to keep the story interesting without any real threat of estrangement or discord. The third-person narration has clear affection for each character, highlighting their strengths and noting their flaws with tenderness, as Ferris’ growing independence shifts family dynamics and roles. … Fans of Winn-Dixie or Katherine Applegate’s books will find easy contentment and gentle amusement with Ferris and her loving, messy family. (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

Kate DiCamillo is at her funniest in ages, perhaps ever, in the tender and cheering pages of ‘Ferris’ … Each quirky yet oddly noble character — and no contemporary children’s writer does quirky yet noble like Ms. DiCamillo — puts out a little narrative hook that draws the reader onward toward a cathartic finale … love is what ‘Ferris’ asks children ages 7-12 to consider. The book is light in feel, rich in vocabulary and abounding with references to literature and poetry, and it asks: Are you brave enough to wade deep into the great river of life? (The Wall Street Journal)

Kate DiCamillo always delivers, and here she brings a slice-of-life narrative packed with family in all its forms — unconventional, stressful, unexpected, but still loving and caring. This is a read with energy that never stops, nor will you want it to. (The Barnes & Noble Reads Blog)