Flora & Ulysses


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. We fear the magic may not 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. It resembles that of Incandesto, legendary superhero and alter-ego of Alfred T. Slipper. There’s a flying, poetry writing squirrel, a looming lamp named Mary-Ann and Giant Donuts, an attack cat.  The neighbours’ eleven-year old nephew, with temporarily traumatised eyeballs, joins this assembly on a horsehair sofa, to make sense of the cacophony.

Flora & Ulysses‘ 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)

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Flora & Ulysses

Kate Di Camillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell


Flora & Ulysses is a story of real life problems and creative solutions. Could it be that reading Terrible Things Can Happen to You has made Flora hyper aware of potential disaster?  Might it enable her to approach these more imaginatively? It seems that when Flora’s neighbour is gifted with an unwanted, super suction vacuum cleaner, Flora is aware of possible problems. She is prepared when the creature inside the machine sucks up a squirrel. That the rescued squirrel emerges as Ulysses, a poetry writing squirrel, who shares his writing with Flora is quite exceptional. Then, there’s Flora’s neighbour’s nephew, William Spiver. Although he is keen to become involved in Flora’s plans and preparations, he seems to be more of an obstacle. Flora is prepared to sort out her adults’ lives. Despite this, her mother seeks William Spiver’s inspiration for her romance writing…
Is it possible that Flora’s inspiration and initiative will solve the problems? Can William Spiver help out rather than interfering?  Does he not realise the drama, obstacle and potential?
Flora & Ulysses is an imaginative, laugh out loud, tissue pulling story. The additional graphic pages from K.Gl Campbell are a bonus.

Newbery Honor Award


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