Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo ; illustrated by K. G. Campbell
(Candlewick Press, 2013, 231 pages)
Flora is a 10 year old self-proclaimed cynic. She spends most of her free time reading comic books, much to her mother’s dismay. One day as she’s looking out the window of her bedroom she sees her neighbor accidentally vacuum up a squirrel. When she heads outside to help she finds that the squirrel has become imbued with superpowers. Flora names him Ulysses after the vacuum cleaner that sucked him up and the two set off together. Ulysses has an enhanced brain capacity and we learn that he has the ability to write poetry and can fly. A squirrel with superpowers has to have a nemesis… but what happens when that nemesis happens to be Flora’s mother?
Flora and Ulysses won the 2014 Newbery Medal and I can see how this would be an engaging read for mid-grade readers. The story obviously has fantastical elements, but there’s a depth to the story as well. The illustrations throughout enhance the story and tie in with Flora’s love of comics. A unique and enjoyable read.