Review: Flora & Ulysses

Flora and Ulysses

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

by Kate DiCamillo

Find it at: Your library | Your local bookstore

Published: Candlewick, September 24, 2013

Recommended reading age: 8 & up

In a nutshell: It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a half-shaved squirrel who possesses super powers and can fly!


Sometimes after finishing a book I think, “Wow. That was a great book, but who am I going to give this book to? Who is the reader?” That was certainly NOT the case after reading Flora & Ulysses. Far from it! Dozens of library kids popped into my head as I was introduced to Flora Bell Buckman, a self declared cynic who saves a squirrel from a wild vacuum cleaner accident. The squirrel she names Ulysses, and after the accident suddlenly has supernatural powers.


As Flora would exclaim, “Holy Bagumba”!

This book is GOOD!

An avid comic reader, Flora is a sensitive girl struggling with loneliness and her parents’ separation. She regularly refers to her favorite comic “The Illuminated Adventures of the Amazing Incandesto”, which she to idolizes, and the bonus comics inserted in each issue of Incandeso, “Terrible Things Can Happen to You” and “Criminal Element” as her voice of logic. Even if she is a self-assured cynic that refuses to let her emotions get the best of her (and she has a lot of those bottled up), deep down Flora believes in hope. It is Ulysses that shows her she can allow herself to do so.

Flora’s adventure of keeping her superhero squirrel from her romance novel writing mother, who wishes to hit the squirrel over the head and bury him, motivates the duo to attempt to defy her mother’s evil plan, sparking their adventure. Along the way they meet quirky characters, and more of Ulysses’ supernatural powers are revealed (flying! writing poetry!). The trade off between text and comic panels by K.G.Campbell is blended perfectly in this endearing story of a girl, her squirrel, and how love and hope are what it takes to fight battles of the heart.

Kate Dicamillo Flora and Ulysses

Another grand slam, feel good read by Kate DiCamillo, who was recently named the National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature for 2014-15. Well done, Library of Congress! Flora and Ulysses is another book to add to the expanding shelf of books by Kate DiCamillo that kids will treasure.


Don’t take my word for it: “Holy bagumba, Kate DiCamillo, superheroine, you have done it again—created a book that is a joy for adults and children alike. It is perfect as a family read-aloud or for an adult/child reading group.” – review from Anita Silvey’s Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac

Extras: The official Flora & Ulysses website.

Teacher guide for Flora & Ulysses.

Teacher resources and discussion guides for other Kate DiCamillo books.

The story behind Flora & Ulysses.

Visit Kate DiCamillo’s website.

Visit K.G. Campbell’s website.

Source of book reviewed: Review copy provided by the publisher.

image source: inside flora & ulysesskate dicamillo


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