Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (a Newbery Honor winner from 2013) tells a winsome and magical story about a ten-year-old girl and a squirrel.

Flora is surrounded by some dysfunctional people, like her parents, who are separated, and a new young neighbor who says he was blinded by trauma.

She calls herself a cynic as she copes with her mother, who dotes on a pretty porcelain lamp named Mary Ann instead of her tomboy daughter. And Flora adores comic books, especially those about an unassuming janitor who transforms into a shining light of rescue. Plainly, she’d like her own life to be more like that.

So she is understandably delighted when a squirrel in the neighbor’s yard suddenly takes on apparent super powers, able to fly and lift heavy things. Is her life starting to resemble a comic book? What’s next?

Meanwhile, the squirrel is suddenly able to understand what this human is saying. He types poetry on her mother’s typewriter. He wants to be a poet.

But her mother declares him diseased and wants to put him out of his misery.

I found this book to be beyond delightful. I’ll give it five stars: * * * * *

I’ve read some of Kate DiCamillo’s books, and I’m ready to read all of them now. There’s a wonderful quality of hope in them.

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@Barrie Summy
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