Kate DiCamillo is the award-winning author behind The Tale of Despereaux, Because of Winn-Dixie, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I recently borrowed her book, Flora & Ulysses, from my sister-in-law who is a teacher and shaper of young minds. I can see why my sister-in-law had it on her shelf at school.
The main character, Flora Buckman, is a self-professed cynic, but she doesn’t seem to be very good at it. After all, a lot of hopeful things happen to Flora. There’s the new neighbor, a boy her age who is temporarily blind. There’s her dad who is a lover of comic book heroes and introducing himself. And there’s a squirrel that gains superpowers (and poetry-writing abilities) after a run-in with a vacuum cleaner.
The illustrations provided by K. G. Campbell, an award-winner in his own right, provide the book with a touch of whimsy while introducing an element of comic-bookishness (it’s a real word, just go with it) into a tale where comic book heroes abound.
I’m not going to go so far as to say that Flora & Ulysses changed my life, but it was a delightful read that I think my daughters would enjoy in a few years. There are elements of adventure mixed in with themes of forgiveness and wonder. Overall, this book was quite likeable. And with her track record of writing stories that adapt well to the silver screen, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this book finds its way to theaters soon.