Monday, September 22, 2014

A Review of 'Flora and Ulysses' by Kate DiCamillo

"It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences.  The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is just the right person to step in and save him.  What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry-- and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart.  From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format-- a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by up-and-coming artist K.G. Campbell."

This is another book that the teacher I volunteer for let me borrow.  She'd gotten tons of new books for her class and she loved this one.

I love the combination of comic pages mixed with prose pages.  Ulysses is depicted as a superhero (I mean, how else would you depict a squirrel who can fly and who has super strength?) and the graphic novel-like illustrations was an adorable and classic way to tell a superhero story.  Even parts of it.

Flora was a kick and Ulysses was amazing, but her parents perplexed me, particularly the mother and her relationship with Flora.  The way Flora talks about it, her mother cares more about things and less about her daughter and other living things.  So naturally, she's the villain of the story, trying to get rid of Ulysses.  But then at the end it seems like she changed her mind about Ulysses really quickly... it felt odd.  Either the mother doesn't know how she feels about anything until she's had some time with it or Flora is a really unreliable narrator (she wouldn't be the first).

This is a cute book and if you're just starting to break into the world of graphic novels, this is a good book for that too.

I give 'Flora and Ulysses':
Thanks for Reading!


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