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FLORA & ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo Kirkus Star


The Illuminated Adventures

by Kate DiCamillo ; illustrated by K.G. Campbell

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6040-6
Publisher: Candlewick

When a cynical comic-book fanatic discovers her own superhero, life becomes wonderfully supercharged.

Despite the contract her mother made her sign to “turn her face away from the idiotic high jinks of comics,” 10-year-old Flora avidly follows her favorite superhero’s adventures. Flora’s mother writes romance novels and seems more in love with her books than with her lonely ex-husband or equally lonely daughter. When a neighbor accidentally vacuums a squirrel into a Ulysses 2000X vacuum cleaner, Flora resuscitates him into a “changed squirrel,” able to lift the 2000X with a single paw. Immediately assuming he’s a superhero, Flora names the squirrel “Ulysses” and believes together they will “[shed] light into the darkest corners of the universe.” Able to understand Flora, type, compose poetry and fly, the transformed Ulysses indeed exhibits superpowers, but he confronts his “arch-nemesis" when Flora’s mother tries to terminate him, triggering a chain of events where Ulysses becomes a real superhero. The very witty text and droll, comic-book–style black-and-white illustrations perfectly relay the all-too-hilarious adventures of Flora, Ulysses and a cast of eccentric characters who learn to believe in the impossible and have “capacious” hearts.

Original, touching and oh-so-funny tale starring an endearingly implausible superhero and a not-so-cynical girl. (Fantasy. 8-12)