November 18, 2013

Flora and Ulysses - by Kate DiCamillo

This is by far, and without any argument, the BEST book I've ever read about a pessimistic girl and her super-hero squirrel.  More than that, it is just a delightful story, full of hope and wonder, ridiculous and laughable characters, and a really obnoxious lamp.  Who would have thought that a squirrel could do such things?  Or that a mother would be capable of such wickedness?  Or that a father would introduce himself quite so often?

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.


Momo said...

Yes Mr K this is such a wonderful book. I loved it so much. I do hope it wins some big awards. I am so excited to read your glowing and insightful review.

Momo said...

I am so excited to read your review. I loved this book so much. The whole idea is so bizarre but it just works! I hope this book wins a huge prize in 2014. Your review is fabulous ... Insightful and glowing.