Book review: Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo

When nearly sucked into a heavy-duty vacuum, Ulysses the squirrel is taken in by 10 year old Flora, a ‘natural born cynic.’ Flora lives with her mother, a divorced romance writer with a strong admiration for the pink shepherdess lamp she bought with her first royalty check. The confrontation with the vacuum cleaner transforms the regular backyard squirrel into Ulysses, the poetry-writing superhero. Flora and Ulysses form a quick bond, a relationship strongly disapproved of by her mother especially when she discovers the squirrel has his own literary talent. The mother has an ominous shovel and sack, and with each mention, the tension rises. Flora will do anything to save her new friend. The characters are well spoken, hilarious, and endearing. The story is wacky and fast-moving. But it’s not all silliness - this is a story about family relationships, discovering a new normal after divorce, and finding friends in unlikely places.

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