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Flora and Ulysses : The Illuminated…

Flora and Ulysses : The Illuminated Adventures (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Kate DiCamillo, K. G Campbell

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Title:Flora and Ulysses : The Illuminated Adventures
Authors:Kate DiCamillo
Other authors:K. G Campbell
Info:Somerville : Candlewick, 2013
Collections:Your library

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Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo (2013)



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10 year old Flora is a cynic. She lives a rather unhappy life with her grumpy romance novelist mother. When she sees a neighbor accidentally suck a squirrel into a vacuum cleaner (while vacuuming her yard) she runs to save the squirrel. Whether it was the vacuuming or the CPR delivered by Flora, the squirrel revives with superhuman (supersquirrel?) strength, the ability to fly, and also to understand and relate to humans. Especially Flora. Flora believes the squirrel, which she names Ulysses, is a super hero who must find his destiny.
A small but exceptionally peculiar cast of supporting characters flesh out this warm, positive, life and hope affirming story. Delightful. ( )
  fingerpost | Oct 2, 2017 |

I've heard so much about Kate DiCamillo, and Flora & Ulysses has the Newberry medal, and yet...I liked it okay. It takes place over the course of a day or two, beginning with Flora seeing her neighbor Mrs. Tickham (Tootie) suck up an unfortunate squirrel in her new indoor/outdoor vacuum cleaner. Flora rescues the squirrel, and discovers that he has superpowers, imbued to him by the vacuum; she names him Ulysses after the brand name, but soon it becomes evident that Flora's mother, a romance novelist, is Ulysses' arch-nemesis - she tells Flora's father (they're separated) to put the squirrel in a sack, hit him with a shovel, and bury him in the woods.

Most of the book is rendered in text, with occasional comic-book panels telling part of the story; this format mirrors Flora's obsession with The Illuminated Adventures of the Amazing Incandesto! (and its companion publication, Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, which is surprisingly informative).

Though they don't go far, it's an adventure story; though they don't pull off great capers or stop crimes, it's a superhero story; most of all, it's a family reconciliation story. Not that Flora's parents get back together, but that Flora learns her mother really does love her more than she loves Mary Ann (a decorative shepherdess lamp). Tootie's great-nephew, William Spiver, is a well-rounded character with a back story as well, which Flora and the reader learn together over the course of the book.


"Yes, well, loneliness makes us do terrible things," said Dr. Meescham.* (124)

*Flora's dad's next-door neighbor in his apartment building: doctor of philosophy, opera lover, insomniac, native of Blundermeecen. ( )
  JennyArch | Jul 12, 2017 |
Made me confused. It was like watching a dream I did not understand. ( )
  mrsrobin | Jun 24, 2017 |
In this fantasy novel, comic book lover Flora becomes friends of Ulysses. Ulysses is the squirrel she saved from the neighbors new vacuum cleaner that went rogue in the backyard. As Ulysses begins to settle in with Flora, he finds Flora's mother's typewriter and begins writing poetry. Now it is up to Flora to introduce him to more poetry and let his creativity flow. It won't be easy with her mother against having a squirrel in the house and feeding into her theory that life is like her favorite comic book. ( )
  booklist520 | Jun 4, 2017 |
I liked this book for 3 reasons. First, I liked the characters in the book. The characters were each unique and made the story creative. The personification of Ulysses made the book interesting for all ages. Secondly, I enjoyed the plot of the book because the plot made the reader eager to keep reading. It was suspenseful to see if Flora's mother was going to take Ulysses and how they were going to resolve the conflict of the so called super squirrel. Finally, I enjoyed the illustrations because they demonstrated Flora's love for comics while telling the story. The illustrations showed Flora's interests while enhancing the story. They also created a fun and creative way to enhance the story to help reader attention.
The big idea of the story is that, although parents don't completely agree with what you do, they are trying to help you and they will always love you. ( )
  mmilde1 | Apr 24, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate DiCamilloprimary authorall editionscalculated
Campbell, K. G.Illustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Andrea and Heller, superheroes to me.
To Dad, who passed it on.
First words
Flora Belle Buckman was in her room at her desk.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 076366040X, Hardcover)

Holy unanticipated occurrences! A cynic meets an unlikely superhero in a genre-breaking new novel by master storyteller 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 the 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:47 -0400)

Rescuing a squirrel after an accident involving a vacuum cleaner, comic-reading cynic Flora Belle Buckman is astonished when the squirrel, Ulysses, demonstrates astonishing powers of strength and flight after being revived.

(summary from another edition)

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