Genre: Children’s Fiction (Middle Grade)
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quote: “The world in all its smelly glory, in all its treachery and joy and nuttiness, washed over Ulysses, ran through him, filled him. He could smell everything. He could ever smell the blue of the sky. He wanted to capture it. He wanted to write it down. He wanted to tell Flora.”
Flora, a cynic and comic book lover, saves a squirrel after it is accidentally sucked up into a vacuum cleaner and becomes a superhero.
Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo is a highly entertaining middle grade novel. I enjoyed it from start to finish. Te writing stands out so well alongisde the comic style illustrations done by K. G. Campbell. It’s cool how successful the novel blends these two different styles of storytelling. That comic feel to the novel really emphasized Flora’s character and way of thinking and Ulysses suddenly becoming a superhero. I also appreciate how quick of a read it was and the high level of vocabulary interspersed throughout.
Ulysses is my favorite character in the novel. He is so adorable and his thinking/view of the world is precious. I like that he loves food almost as much as he loves Flora.
Every character besides Flora and Ulysses seem very quirky (sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way). Their characters serve as an achor for the reader to make sense of everything that is happening. It also seems like there are three different forces were competing for the reader’s attention: Flora’s (and sometimes William Spiver’s) rational, cynical view versus the impossibility of Ulysses being a superhero (and having incredible strength) versus the peculiarity of the adults. But I think middle grade readers will like these opposing forces clashing against each other in a superhero versus arch-nemesis type fashion.
The odd-sounding-ness of names, places and things (Tootie, Alfred T. Slipper, Blundermeecen, bagumba) were fun to say and hear. The novel is compelling, beautiful, strange, unusual, and impossible – but that’s what makes it so good! That and the fact that all the trouble is centered around a squirrel makes Flora & Ulysses an enticing read.