Flora considers herself a natural-born cynic. Of course, her parents’ recent divorce and her mother’s obsession with writing romance novels may have contributed to that assessment. Still, could anyone who reads comic books about an unlikely superhero remain a true cynic for long?
Flora’s pessimism meets a challenge when she watches her neighbor, Tootie Tickham, vacuum up a squirrel in her backyard. The apparent senseless destruction of the squirrel confirms Flora’s bleak outlook on life. However, the animal’s survival and newly acquired superpowers force her to confront her opinion of herself and her world. In spite of her mother’s insistence that the squirrel is diseased and should be eliminated, Flora and her father decide to protect their new pet. In the process, they discover that help often comes from unlikely people in unexpected ways.
With her usual flare for clever dialogue and quirky characters, Kate DiCamillo has written a light-hearted yet deep story about friendship, family and faith. Flora’s adventures with Ulysses the Squirrel introduce her to some new friends whose philosophies of life expand Flora’s vision. DiCamillo includes a smattering of sophisticated vocabulary which, with K.G. Campbell’s illustrations, make her latest book a delightful combination of tenderness and hilarity.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.