Reviews for Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

by Kate DiCamillo

Publishers Weekly
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Newbery Medalist DiCamillo and illustrator Campbell meld prose with comics sequences in a broad comedy tinged with sadness. Bitter about her parents' divorce, Flora Buckman has withdrawn into her favorite comic book, The Amazing Incandesto! and memorized the advisories in its ongoing bonus feature, Terrible Things Can Happen to You! She puts those life-saving tips into action when a squirrel is swallowed whole by a neighbor's new vacuum cleaner, the Ulysses Super-Suction Multi-Terrain 2000X. Flora resuscitates the squirrel, christens him after the vacuum, and witnesses a superhero-like transformation: Ulysses is now uber-strong, can fly, and composes poetry. Despite supremely quirky characters and dialogue worthy of an SAT prep class, there's real emotion at the heart of this story involving two kids who have been failed by the most important people in their lives: their parents. It's into this profound vacuum that Ulysses really flies, demonstrating an unconditional love for his rescuer, trumped only perhaps by his love for food and a desire "to make the letters on the keyboard speak the truth of his heart." Ages 10-up. Author's agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. Illustrator's agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

When a squirrel is sucked inside a neighbor's vacuum cleaner, Flora Belle Buckman-who is still recovering from her parents' divorce-puts down her favorite comic book (Terrible Things Can Happen to You!) and springs into action. But once she has saved the squirrel-whom she names Ulyssess-Flora soon discovers that the animal has some magical powers. Narrator Sands delivers a charming and lighthearted performance that listeners will love. Sands's ability to create colorful, over-the-top characters is an ideal match for DiCamillo's quirky novel, and the voices she produces here are pitch-perfect. This is a fun-filled audio experience. Ages 10-up. A Candlewick hardcover. (Sept) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* The story begins with a vacuum cleaner. And a squirrel. Or, to be more precise, a squirrel who gets sucked into a Ulysses Super Suction wielded by Flora's neighbor, Mrs. Tickham. The rather hairless squirrel that is spit out is not the same one that went in. That squirrel had only one thought: I'm hungry. After Flora performs CPR, the rescued squirrel, newly named Ulysses, is still hungry, but now he has many thoughts in his head. Foremost is his consideration of Flora's suggestion that perhaps he is a superhero like The Amazing Incandesto, whose comic-book adventures Flora read with her father. (Drawing on comic-strip elements, Campbell's illustrations here work wonderfully well.) Since Flora's father and mother have split up, Flora has become a confirmed and defiant cynic. Yet it is hard to remain a cynic while one's heart is opening to a squirrel who can type ( Squirtl. I am . . . born anew ), who can fly, and who adores Flora. Newbery winner DiCamillo is a master storyteller, and not just because she creates characters who dance off the pages and plots, whether epic or small, that never fail to engage and delight readers. Her biggest strength is exposing the truths that open and heal the human heart. She believes in possibilities and forgiveness and teaches her audience that the salt of life can be cut with the right measure of love. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: DiCamillo has a devoted following, plus this book has an extensive marketing campaign. That equals demand.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist


School Library Journal
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Gr 3-7-Flora starts off her 10th summer by promising her mother that she'll spend more time reading real books, and less time poring over the pages of her favorite superhero comics. But neither she nor her mother could have predicted that her summer would be one long superhero adventure, starring none other than Flora and her new pet squirrel, Ulysses. Ulysses gains super-squirrel strength after being sucked into a vacuum cleaner, and he changes the Buckman family's lives, renewing a sense of hope and optimism in Flora. Fans of the title's print version (Candlewick, 2013) will likely be disappointed by its audio adaptation. The novel features a number of fun cartoons, and does not translate well without the accompanying artwork, which plays a significant role in telling the story. While reader Tara Sands makes a valid attempt to differentiate male and female characters, she does not quite pull it off. The men in the novel come off sounding hokey and exaggerated. While DiCamillo's work shines on paper, the excessive use of dialogue tags, and absence of corresponding artwork, make this novel a poor choice as a read aloud.-Jennifer Furuyama, Pendleton Public Library, OR (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Ten-year-old Flora Belle Buckman's life changes when she befriends a squirrel with superpowers. There's only one problem: Flora's self-absorbed, romance novelwriting, squirrel-hating mother. DiCamillo imbues her novel with warmth, humor, and emotion, focusing on large life issues such as loss and abandonment, acceptance of differences, and the complexity of relationships. Full-page and spot pencil illustrations accentuate the mood. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.