Rating: 5/5 Stars
Release Date: 9/24/2013
About the Book: Flora loves to read The Amazing Incandesto comics and she knows a lot about superheroes. But she never thought she'd encounter a superhero squirrel. Yet that's exactly whet happens when her neighbors new vacuum cleaner sucks up a squirrel-Ulysses the superhero squirrel is born. Not everyone loves Ulysses and he finds an arch-enemy in Flora's mother. Good thing Flora has read every issue of Terrible Things Can Happen To You. She's prepared to help Ulysses and along the way this self-described cynic might just discover new friends, poetry, and the love of a capacious heart.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: First off, let me say props to the Newbery Committee for choosing this delightfully quirky tale-what a great pick!
Flora And Ulysses is a classic Kate DiCamillo story-and if you've never read any of her books, remedy that right now because you are missing out. No one can write an eccentric cast of characters quite like Kate DiCamillo. Flora is endearing and while she might say she's a cynic, she grows and discovers friendship, family and love throughout the novel. And Ulysses is an incredible superhero squirrel. He's observant and all about food and I loved getting a peek into his head-the portions of the story that were about Ulysses cracked me up-just how I would think a squirrel would tell a tale. Rounding out the memorable cast of characters are Flora's parents-each with a few quirks of their own-her neighbors and their temporarily blind nephew, William Spiver, and Dr. Meecham, who has lots of oddball insights for Flora to think about. Individually the characters might seem strange, but wrapped up together as an ensemble they blend together marvelously and create many memorable scenes.
The friendship between Flora and Ulysses is a great nod to the bond between children and animals. I loved Flora's developing friendship with William Spiver-it was one of the highlights of the novel for me. An adult reader might read both characters as being a bit odd and awkward, although I'm not sure if young readers will see that or instead just take their quirks with a grain of salt. I almost think kids will just think of them as just fun, silly, characters. But for me as an adult reader, I loved watching their tender, fragile, and yes a bit awkward friendship form. They discover-even if they don't realize it-that they're not alone and that they may just understand each other in a way no one else does.
The novel takes place over the course of a couple of days and I really enjoyed how much Ms. DiCamillo could pack into a story with such a short time span. Nothing felt out of place and the pacing and timing was perfect. The language is fantastic and weaves in wonderful words like malfeasance and capacious without feeling pretentious. The book is very funny and full of humor and heart. The dialogue is witty as is the narration and I couldn't help but fall in love. A great addition to the text are black and white comic panels of Flora and Ulysses's adventures-just perfect for a comic book fan and her superhero squirrel.
This is the sort of novel I think is just begging to be adapted for the stage. Can someone please make a Flora and Ulysses musical???
A tender, charming, and quirky novel that would be a great read aloud, Flora and Ulysses are sure to find a place in your heart.
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from library copy