Flora & Ulysses

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Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
Flora & Ulysses.jpg
First edition
Author Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator K. G. Campbell
Country United States
Language English
Genre Children's
Publisher Candlewick Press
Publication date
2013
Pages 240 pp

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures is a children's novel by American author Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by K. G. Campbell, published in 2013 by Candlewick Press. It tells the story of Flora Belle and a squirrel named Ulysses.

The illustrations include full-page and small pencil drawings, together with comic-book panels describing the gang's adventures.

Plot[edit]

Self-proclaimed cynic, Flora, spends her time reading comic books and struggling to understand her parents’ recent divorce. She is jolted into action when the neighbour runs over a squirrel with a vacuum cleaner. The squirrel’s brush with death causes him to develop so called superpowers. Flora then named the squirrel Ulysses after the vacuum cleaner. Flora explains to Ulysses that he must use his newfound powers to right wrongs, fight injustice, "or something." Ulysses decides to write on Flora's mother's typewriter, revealing he can write poetry. Or something.

When Flora confronts her mother about her desire to kill Ulysses, a shouting match erupts in which Flora comes to believe her mother does not love her. Flora, feeling hurt, declares that she will go home with her father. Ulysses writes a poem to explain Flora and her mother’s real emotions, but Flora’s mother kidnaps him before the poem can be read. Flora puts together a crack team to rescue Ulysses, who has already escaped, leaving Flora’s mother to read his poem. The cast reunites in the father’s apartment building where Flora’s cynical exterior is cracked for good as she realises her parents truly love her.

Characters[edit]

Flora Belle Buckman: A natural-born cynic and a reader of comic books. Flora has memorized the advice in the series TERRIBLE THINGS CAN HAPPEN TO YOU and lives by the mantra, “Do not hope; instead, observe.”

Ulysses: A squirrel who develops super-powers after a brush with death (He gets sucked up by a vacuum cleaner). He can fly, lift heavy objects, understand human speech and type poetry. He is also insatiably hungry.

George Buckman: Flora’s father, a small and sad man who hasn’t smiled since his divorce.

Phyllis Buckman: Flora’s mother is a romance novelist whose most prized possession is a lamp which she calls Mary. She calls it Mary because she has a little lamb.

Tootie Tickham: Flora’s neighbor who loves poetry and receives a very powerful vacuum cleaner from her husband.

William Spiver: Mrs. Tickham’s nephew who has been banished from his own family after rolling his step-father’s truck into a lake. He claims to have been struck blind by this calamity.

Dr. Meescham: George’s neighbor and a doctor of philosophy. She tells stories about her childhood in a town where people were occasionally eaten by trolls.

Mr. Klaus: A terrifying cat belonging to the manager of George’s apartment building who is also named Mr. Klaus.

Awards[edit]

Flora & Ulysses won the Newbery Medal for 2014.[1]

Reception[edit]

The Horn Book review described the book as "heartwarming" with plenty of humor and a "quirky supporting cast", and notes that the illustrations "accentuate the mood".[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2014 ALSC Media Awards". ALSC. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Reviews of the 2014 Newbery Award winners", The Horn Book Magazine, January 27, 2014
Awards
Preceded by
The One and Only Ivan
Newbery Medal recipient
2014
Succeeded by
The Crossover