Holy bagumba! Kate Di Camillo does it again. ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ is one of my all time favourite children’s books. It’s always trepidatious for readers to turn to a new title from one that is beloved, fearing that the magic cannot be repeated. ‘Flora & Ulysses’ doesn’t repeat the magic, but offers its own unique reading wonder.
Flora Belle Buckman’s neighbour’s birthday present of a super-suction, multi-terrain vacuum cleaner inadvertently opens Flora’s world to something resembling that of Incandesto, legendary superhero and alter-ego of Alfred T. Slipper. A flying, poetry writing squirrel, a looming lamp named Mary-Ann, Giant Donuts, an attack cat, and the neighbours’ eleven-year old nephew with temporarily traumatised eyeballs, all gather together to make sense of their cacophony on a horsehair sofa.
This is a truly wonderful, blindsiding, wild and different book. I cannot recommend it highly enough. K.G. Campbell’s comic book illustrations punctuate the chapters adding to the humour, mayhem and wonderment. There is no room for cynicism here- ‘I promise to always turn back towards you.’ Kate Di Camillo is one of the finest writers for children, and this is one of her finest books. (Newbery Honor Award)