November 18, 2013
Flora and Ulysses - by Kate DiCamillo
Like much of Ms. DiCamillo's work (Tiger Rising, The Tale of Despereaux, or Because of Winn-Dixie, to name a few of her firsts and my favorites), this story is about more than it seems at first. It is ostensibly the tale of a girl whose parents have split up, leaving her in the uncomfortable middle. When she meets a special squirrel, it begins a chain of events that change her life forever, bringing several new people and great adventure (relatively speaking) into her life. Behind the scenes, it's really about family, and what it really means to be a family. It's about love, beauty, and poetry. It's about time someone wrote a book like this, and this was the right person for the job.
I should note, the book does have a number of clever illustrations, and the reader gets a good feel for the characters through these drawings. I like the subtitle, "The Illuminated Adventures," as it reminds me of those beautiful hand-colored illuminated bibles of long ago. The drawings, though wonderful and humorous, are not overpowering, and it is definitely NOT a graphic novel. It is, however, a book for the ages.