Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry—and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format—a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by up-and-coming artist K. G. Campbell.

Flora & Ulysses  is adorable. That's pretty much all there is to say about it. If you're not immediately engaged by a squirrel that's killed by a vacuum cleaner and comes back to life with special powers, I'm not sure where your soul is. 

But the heart of this story is deeper than the antics of a flying, poetry writing squirrel. It lies with a little girl who doesn't feel loved. Flora has shut herself of from the world and declared herself a cynic because she thinks her mother loves a lamp more than her. She's struggling to fit into her world because without her parents, she doesn't know where she fits. 

It's beautiful to see this little girl get the love she so desperately want from Ulysses. He opens her eyes to a whole new side of the world, and makes her realize she may not be a cynic after all. 

All in all this is a great book with hilarious situations, characters, and illustrations. It's sweet and reminds us how important the bond between parent and child is. I highly recommend it. 

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