2014: Flora & Ulysses, the Illuminated Adventures (featuring poetry slammin’ squirrels)

VERDICT: Treasure

Sally’s Rating: 3.5/5

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo is a humorous story of a girl and her escapades with her superhero companion – a squirrel.

Flora Belle Buckman is a natural born cynic and reader of comic books, a hobby that does not impress her mother. After a questionable incident with a vacuum cleaner, Flora finds a squirrel in her backyard and discovers that he has superpowers – he can now write poetry on the typewriter and fly through the air. Unfortunately, her mother only sees the squirrel as a pest and spends the rest of the novel trying to get rid of it.

This novel was a delightful read with its quirky characters and fluffy plot. Flora’s cynicism works well with the squirrel’s simple animalistic thoughts. The characters are both colorful and likeable. Most of the conflict centers around Flora’s insecurities with her mother and how she feels like she doesn’t really understand her. Centering the novel around family gives the characters’ interactions a bit more substance and background, since most of the characters lack seriousness and depth.

The best part of the novel was the author’s inclusion of comic strip illustrations in each chapter. If anything, I wish these would have been utilized more as they give the novel a comic book-like feeling since, after all, the book is about a flying superhero squirrel.

Flora & Ulysses is a light read that focuses on what it means to be family. Kid readers would most likely enjoy Flora’s exploits and her cute interactions with her heroic pet squirrel.


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