I bought Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo at the Scholastic Warehouse Sale.
I hadn't read the book yet, but I knew I loved everything, some more than others, DiCamillo wrote, so I went ahead and got it. It was a great choice, and a great addition to my library.
Flora & Ulysses is an absolute fabulous book, and clearly the Newbery Committee thinks so as well since it won the Newbery Award this year. That's kind of a big deal; hence the gold medal on the front of the cover now.
I don't always love the Newbery Award books, but this year they chose wonderfully.
I am going to give Flora & Ulysses 5 out of 5 stars. The storyline is unique and interesting. The characters are most definitely characters that are described fabulously and have their own quirks that seem so very real and loveable. The story is completely clean with no language or anything awkward to deal with, and it has depth that can bring about good discussion between parent/child or class/teacher. It's a great book that deserves all 5 stars.
I think Flora is a very relate-able character. I think Ulysses is just fun and not what I initially anticipated or expected. I think Flora's mother and father have a relationship that many kids can relate to but yet they are so quirky it's fun in its own way. I think the entire story is just great and everyone should read it!
Even though this book has a girl as a main character, I think boys could enjoy this one just as much. Though, a teacher or parent may have to read this book to or with the boy to get them to accept it before they love it.
One aspect that boys especially, but girls as well, will enjoy is the comic pages that tell part of the story. There are several illustrations throughout the book in comic form. Since Flora loves comic books and Ulysses is a Superhero Squirrel the comics are absolutely perfect in the book. Great call on the comic aspects DiCamillo.
K.G. Campbell did the illustrations and I think he did a fabulous job. The style of the illustrations fits in wonderfully with the writing style of DiCamillo.
I truly believe that illustrations can make or break a book. If they are done in a similar style/feel as the authors writing then they have huge bang for their buck. The illustrations found throughout Flora & Ulysses perfectly enhances the story and makes it even better.
For a bit more of the storyline, Amazon has the following book description:
"It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry — and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format — a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by up-and-coming artist K. G. Campbell."
Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures is a fabulous story worth all 5 stars and even more so worth the Newbery Medal it received. Go read this fast read by yourself one snowy day or with your kids.
Teachers should most definitely add this to their "Read Aloud" choices. It would be great read aloud for 2nd grade and up. There are big words you could look up as a class, and the comics interspersed with the text of the story could make for an excellent writing lesson.
I'm a big fan of Flora & Ulysses!