Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Ill. by K.G. Campbell. Candlewick Press, 2013. ISBN
This is a funny laugh out loud story and is highly recommended for younger readers. It is also a beautifully designed book with lovely comic book style illustrations with each alternative chapter presented in comic book panels.
Flora watches from the window as Ulysses the squirrel is sucked up by a vacuum cleaner, she rushes down to rescue him and finds a very changed squirrel blessed with super powers. Together Flora and Ulysses try to make sense of the world around them and Flora has to protect Ulysses from the unwelcome attentions of her own mother.
Luckily Flora is well up on the conventions of super powers and superheros as she subscribes to The illuminated adventures of the Amazing Incandesto which informs her every move in the strange world of adults and their concerns. Teachers and parents reading this story to their children will find much to amuse in Flora's musings on the advice she receives from the sage Amazing Incandesto.
Children should love this book which does beg to be read aloud, with each chapter ending in a new challenge for Flora and Incandesto as they seek to solve the mysteries of life aided by a cast of eccentrics including Flora's father who is estranged from his wife and lodges at the Blixen arms and owned by Mr Klaus who has an infamous cat of the same name.
Flora learns about love and life from her father's neighbour Dr Meescham (originally from Blundermeecen) and from William Spiver her neighbour who has his own issues.
If you want to know who will prevail and who will be vanquished I suggest that you read this hilarious and moving story.