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Book Review: Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated AdventuresFlora Belle Buckman loves reading comic books, but her mother is trying to move Flora toward “real literature”, which is rather ironic coming from a romance novelist. Flora’s favorite comic series is “The Illuminated Adventures of the Amazing Incandesto”, about a janitor who falls into a vat of cleaning solution and becomes a “towering crime fighting pillar of light”.

While looking out the window one day, Flora sees something highly unusual. The next door neighbor is vacuuming the lawn (What?!?) and is headed straight for a squirrel. Flora races downstairs and out the door but not fast enough. She is able to revive the squirrel and names him Ulysses, after the vacuum that changed him forever. Flora soon discovers Ulysses has superpowers. He can fly, loves poetry, and is able to communicate, via the typewriter Flora’s mother uses to write. No superhero is without an arch nemesis and Flora’s mother fits the bill. She hates Ulysses and wants him gone. Flora must use her comic book knowledge to save him.

Why I picked up the book: I love Kate DiCamillo. When it won the Newbery, I wanted to read it (especially after one of our reference assistants got so excited about the award. Squeals are usually a good selling point!)

Why I finished it: It didn’t disappoint. It was cute, funny, and heartfelt. It is a wonderful look at the power of friendship, words, books, and love. The book reminds readers that there is a superhero in all of us and that love makes us powerful .. As a mom (and a lover of love) my favorite line is “I promise to always turn back toward you.”

I’d give it to: any reader (tweens, teens, adults) but especially those who liked Because of Winn Dixie or The Tale of Despereaux. I love the use of comic frames as well as the SAT words.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!

Review by Jenn, YA Librarian (View all my Goodreads reviews)

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