“Flora and Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo is very worthy of its 2014 Newbery Medal and would be a welcome addition to anyone’s personal library though we are thankful to have several copies of it available in our very own Metro Library Network. The story is wonderfully imaginative following one Flora Belle Buckman, a young, self-described cynic obsessed with comics. While rereading the tales of the Great Incadesto! she watches in horror from her bedroom window as her neighbor accidentally sucks up a hapless squirrel with a manic vacuum cleaner. Much like our other favorite superheros created in tragic accidents, Ulysses is born. With the power to vanquish evil cats, thwart cunning mothers, and cause mass chaos in doughnut shops, this gentle superhero also writes poetry. Meaningful, loving poetry about his girl, Flora.
DiCamillo is a talented writer who seems to appreciate the fact that there are so many younger readers out there who deserve to encounter challenging words without veering into adult content. In addition to using fun, albeit advanced vocabulary, DiCamillo also accurately portrays what life can be like for a family who has gone through a divorce. She doesn’t hit the reader over the head with it, but instead, lets it be a part of the backdrop – a normal part of Flora’s life, with her parents separated but still both working to do what is in her best interest regardless of the presence of a super squirrel.
– a post from Sarah