The book bunny household has enjoyed almost every book they read of Kate DiCamillo. Today Marshmallow reviews one of her favorites: Flora and Ulysses.
Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you liked reading any other book by Kate DiCamillo, such as Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and Mercy Watson, or if you like books about unexpected friendships, then this might be the book for you.
Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): “Cynic” Flora Belle Buckman’s knowledge is put to the test when her neighbor runs over a squirrel with a vacuum. She knows a lot of things about tumors and other things that can go wrong in life. But one thing that she has yet to learn is how to perform CPR on a squirrel. Which is exactly what she does.
While the vacuum is about to suck up the squirrel, his only thought is, “FOOD!” Not, “I don’t want to die!” or “This is the end.” As the squirrel is waking up, he hears a voice, Flora’s, saying, “Breathe!” And so he does.
When he wakes up he is a different squirrel. And he is very, VERY hungry. So Flora sneaks him into her house. And she names him Ulysses after the vacuum that sucked him up (the Ulysses 2000X).
When Flora and her mother go to sleep, Ulysses goes and raids the pantry and then starts to type on Flora’s mother’s typewriter. He writes:
“Squirtel! I am. Ulysses. Born anew.”
Flora’s mother gets upset because she doesn’t know about Ulysses, and so she thinks that Flora typed it. When she eventually finds out about Ulysses, she tells Flora’s dad (they are divorced), to put Ulysses in a sack, then hit Ulysses on the head with a shovel (which will “put him out of his misery”), and then bury him with the shovel.
When Flora hears about this plan, she gets very upset. She is not only upset that her mother could be so cruel to a squirrel but also because she is upset about Mary Ann, her mother’s lamp. Flora’s mother says that she loves Mary Ann with all her heart even though she never says that about Flora. Flora is understandably upset, but she tries to ignore it by saying that she is a cynic and she doesn’t care, but she actually really does.
Marshmallow’s Review: This book is both heartwarming and funny. Kate DiCamillo did a very good job of writing a funny book that can also make the reader happier.
Flora and Ulysses has a lot of interesting characters. For example, Ulysses the squirrel is a very interesting character and it is very funny how his only thought before he got sucked up by the vacuum and became smarter was, “FOOD!” Flora is also a very interesting character. She likes reading Incandesto, a comic book about a janitor who fell into a large pool of a cleaning liquid and became a superhero. And Flora really likes reading the comic strip that is at the end of every Incandesto book, called Terrible Things Can Happen to You! which is how she determines that she is a cynic.
Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.