Flora & Ulysses

By Kate DiCamillo, K.G. Campbell (illustrator),

Book cover of Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

Book description

Holy unanticipated occurrences! A cynic meets an unlikely superhero in a genre-breaking new novel by a master storyteller.

It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw it coming - the vacuum cleaner, that is. As for self-described cynic…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Flora & Ulysses as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Clever, comic-book reading, word-loving Flora is more cynical than ever since her parents’ separation. She’s sure her mother loves a shepherdess lamp more than her own daughter. When Flora saves a squirrel sucked up by a neighbor’s vacuum and he returns with super strength and the ability to understand language and write poetry, she finds a kindred spirit. I love this book for its colorful (human and squirrel) characters and subtle exploration of family dynamics. And I love that Flora’s journey, which is emotional rather than physical, isn’t wrapped up with a tidy bow at the end.

A Newberry Medal winner from the peerless Kate DiCamillo (quick, read all her books!), with comic panels from K.G. Campbell. Flora is a 10-year-old girl and Ulysses is a squirrel with superpowers, who Flora rescues from a vacuum cleaner. You’re already giggling, aren’t you? We follow the pair, and a bunch of other wacky characters, on a series of laugh-out-loud adventures that will keep you turning the page. I bet you’ll read the entire book in one sitting, like I did. 

From Allan's list on will make you laugh.

Flora Buckman’s parents have separated, and they’re both behaving in bizarre ways. Flora finds herself bewildered and terrified for her future until she’s befriended by Ulysses, a squirrel with superpowers. In the midst of a wildly dysfunctional family, Flora finds her pessimism turning to hope thanks to her adventures with the charming Ulysses. The author expertly blends pathos with absurdist humor, and the comic-book illustrations bring the characters vividly to life. 

I love this book because it reminds me that even when the family members around us are melting down, we can stay true to ourselves and become curious about…

From Melissa's list on total family meltdowns.

I love everything Kate DiCamillo writes, but I especially adore the oh-so-quirky Flora & Ulysses. Self-described cynic Flora is shocked and concerned to see a neighbor suck a squirrel up her new vacuum cleaner. Although largely unharmed, the squirrel, who she names Ulysses, is transformed. In fact, it looks like he might have superpowers—unconventional though they may be. He can lift heavy objects, fly and.... write poetry? Holy unanticipated occurrences! What follows is an offbeat story about friendship, family, and a really ugly lamp, interspersed with adorable comic-style sequences that depict Ulysses conquering villains, defending the weak, and vanquishing…

From Anna's list on middle grade unlikely friendships.

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