Reading Level: Middle Grade
Size: 240 pages
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 5/5 stars
I have read all of Dicamillo’s books and really enjoyed them all. So when I saw she had released another book I was excited to read it. This book was a departure from Dicamillo’s usual deep and beautiful writing, it was pretty darn hilarious but touches on some deep topics all the same. I ended up really really loving it.
Flora is suffering through her parents divorce, her mother is a romance novelist and her father lives apart from them by himself. Flora and her dad always used to read a comic book entitled The Illuminated Adventures of the Amazing Incandesto and Flora is obsessed with this comic. She draws a lot of her lifes lessons from this source. Everything changes when her neighbor accidentally sucks up a squirrel in a vacuum cleaner, Flora saves the squirrel, and then they all discover that the squirrel has superhero-like powers.
Everything about this book is quirky and weird…and somewhat hilarious. The first portion of the book is especially funny, I laughed out loud a number of times at the crazy outrageousness of the whole situation.
Flora has decided that she is a cynic and will never feel or care about anything at all. Really she is mostly lonely and unhappy living with her mother. Her mother pushes Flora to be as normal as possible, but Flora would like to be herself. It doesn’t help that Flora got along much better with her father anyway.
Things get even crazier when Flora finds out that her mom has a plan to kill Ulysses, the squirrel with the superhero powers, and her mom wants her dad to help with the plot. What follows is a crazy series of events
Another character that was very intriguing is Dr. Meescham. She seems to have a pretty upbeat and positive view on life, she obviously lived through the Holocaust and bases a lot of her life philosophies on the kindnesses she saw in that horrible situation. She is kind of the wise old sage of this story.
The format is intriguing and is something I have seen a lot more of lately. It is a mesh between graphic novel and traditional novel format. The graphic novel portions are hilarious and incredibly well done. I also enjoyed the chapters where we hear from the squirrel’s POV.
This story does have a fantasy element, but most
of the story is about family and allowing kids to be themselves. The whole thing is a bit quirky and downright hilarious because it is Ulysses the squirrel and his poetry that kind of end up bringing everyone together.
Overall this was a fabulously entertaining book. It is much more fun and lighthearted than Dicamillo’s other books, but no less inspiring. I really enjoyed reading it and enjoyed all of the quirky characters. I also enjoyed the message about letting everyone be who they want to be and loving them for their quirks.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge