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Book Review

‘Flora and Ulysses’ is a comic book-lover’s must-read


book 021314Courtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Julie Goodrich



240 pp.

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Holy unanticipated occurrences! Ulysses the squirrel lives a pretty basic squirrel existence until a near-death experience with a vacuum cleaner changes his life in “Flora and Ulysses,” by Kate DiCamillo and K.G. Campbell. Flora, a self-proclaimed cynic, saves his life and becomes his best friend in this quirky, silly, heart-felt book from the imaginative mind of Kate DiCamillo. The author of such classics as “The Tale of Despereaux” and “Because of Winn-Dixie” has created another charming world filled with lively characters, a well-formed plot and a cracking sense of adventure. K.G. Campbell’s fantastic illustrations add whimsy and fun, bringing the story to life as all good illustrations should.

Flora is a comic book-obsessed young girl with a rather dark outlook on life after her parents split up. However, once she rescues Ulysses from the grip of an unearthly vacuum cleaner, life gets a lot more interesting. The now hairless squirrel has developed super powers, and Flora is determined to help him become the hero he is meant to be, just like her favorite comic hero, The Amazing Incandesto.

The rich, layered characters and hilarious adventures they get into are a lot of fun. The underlying message of hope, change and growing up, however, is really where this book shines. DiCamillo’s deft writing and sparkling imagination jump off the page and will win over adults and children alike. Comic book lovers of all stripes will see a bit of themselves in Flora and her devotion to her beloved comics. I had a smile my face from beginning to end.

The Newberry Award committee made a wonderful choice this year. Don’t miss it. CV

Julie Goodrich is a collector of pretty words, geeky T-shirts and obsolete college degrees. She lives in Grimes with two weird cats and an obscene number of books. She recently earned a shiny new master’s degree in Library Science and is actively looking for a job. Know of one? Call her!

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