Flora & Ulysses

Flora & Ulysses

The Illuminated Adventures

Book - 2013 | First edition
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Rescuing a squirrel after an accident involving a vacuum cleaner, comic-reading cynic Flora Belle Buckman is astonished when the squirrel, Ulysses, demonstrates astonishing powers of strength and flight after being revived.
Publisher: Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2013
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780763660406
Branch Call Number: J FIC DICAM K
Additional Contributors: Campbell, K. G. (Keith Gordon), 1966-
Alternative Title: Flora and Ulysses


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OPL_KIDS May 02, 2020

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures won a Newbery Medal soon after its publication. Honestly, I don't understand why. The story is amusing at times, and the characters have enough character development to be interesting. The humor, quirky characters, occasional comic book "pages", and superhero subject matter are likely to be appealing to reluctant readers. Challenging vocabulary does pop up occasionally, but I would consider that a bonus. Overall, it's a good enough story that I would recommend it to reluctant juvenile readers who are interested in animals and/or superheroes. I just didn't personally consider it an "award winning" story.

Reviewed by Miss Allison

VaughanPLDianeB Feb 19, 2020

Weird. Unreal. Quirky. Funny. Sad. Deep. Lovable. Worth reading!

Jan 15, 2020

A fun, silly, adventure story about a girl and a squirrel who acquires superhero abilities.

IndyPL_SteveB Apr 17, 2019

While DiCamillo’s books always deal with the theme of children (or animals in the metaphorical place of children) trying to find their places in the world, they do so in a surprising number of different writing styles. This is a comic novel with occasional scenes in graphic-novel format. It’s about a girl (“Flora”) who rescues a squirrel which has been sucked up into a super vacuum cleaner. The squirrel (“Ulysses”) emerges as a super-hero squirrel who can fly, lift things the weight of a vacuum cleaner, understand human speech, and write poetry. The squirrel then wants to save Flora from her miserable life as a semi-abandoned child. The story is told by Flora but Ulysses has the biggest heart.

Lots of fun. 4th-6th grade level; but would also be liked by older children with an offbeat sense of humor.

Nov 10, 2018

I read it when I was gr.3 and I still enjoy it! IT IS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!

Jul 19, 2018

there were many plot twists in this book and it was very funny I recommend this book for any age

VaughanPLDonnalee Mar 23, 2018

I quite enjoyed this book. It was funny and quirky and I thought it was sweet. There were some eccentric characters and unexpected plots twists. I loved the goofy little squirrel, Ulysses. The story had some depth to it and touched on some serious issues, without getting mired in them and losing its sense of lightness. I also really liked the accompanying illustrations which added greatly to the story's charm. I read this book with my book club, but some of the children didn't like it. The tone is quirky and off-beat and while that greatly appealed to me, this may be a bit of a love-it or hate-it type of book.

Jul 12, 2017

I enjoyed this book because I thought that it was pretty funny. My favourite part was when the mom took Ulysses. I enjoyed this part because it was interesting and kept me reading. The only negative feedback I have about this book is to make it more exciting.

Aug 04, 2016

How can you go wrong with Kate? This is fun! But my fave is still Because of Winn-Dixie

May 23, 2016

I love this book. I highly recommend it!!!!!!!!!!

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Age Suitability

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May 30, 2019

blue_dog_8171 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 7 and 14

Jul 12, 2017

MadelineB30 thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over

Jul 06, 2016

blue_penguin_1830 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

May 23, 2016

TomasR thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Jul 02, 2014

joycemas thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 12

M02V May 17, 2014

M02V thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Feb 17, 2014

blue_dolphin_4663 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12


ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12


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JCLChrisK Jan 05, 2014

"The Criminal Element" spoke often, and passionately, about the nefarious activities that every human being is capable of. Not only did it insist that the human heart was dark beyond all reckoning; it also likened the heart to a river. And further, it said, "If we are not careful, that river can carry us along in its hidden currents of want and anger and need, and transform each of us into the very criminal we fear."

Nov 21, 2013

Holy bagumba!

Nov 21, 2013

Ulysses "was enormously, inordinately pleased with himself. He felt immensely powerful! He felt like writing a poem!"


“George… we have a problem. Your daughter has become emotionally attached to a diseased squirrel.”


“… the torturing of dogs was the one reliable pleasure of a squirrel’s existence.”


Add a Summary
Jul 11, 2020

Flora is a huge comic fan with a secret. She has a superhero pet squirrel! Together with her squirrel Flora is able to fight her arch nemesis. Flora first finds Ulysses the squirrel after he was sucked up into the brand new vacuum cleaner the “Ulysses 2000x” when she finally frees him he stands up and shakes the vacuum for crackers. From that moment on Flora knows Ulysses is a special squirrel.

This adorable tale follows a girl and her squirrel friend which I love. These fun characters go on so many adventures you are sure to want to read this story more than once. This book is appropriate for all ages, and I would highly recommend it.

Jul 02, 2014

It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry — and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format — a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by up-and-coming artist K. G. Campbell.


It all began with a vacuum cleaner. Not just any vacuum cleaner, mind you, but a Ulysses Super-Suction, Multi-Terrain 2000X. One minute Mrs. Tickham is being dragged through her yard by a piece of cleaning equipment that clearly has a mind of its own, and the next she’s vacuumed up a live squirrel. Flora, child cynic and lover of all this comic book related, witnesses the event and when she runs to the squirrel finds that not only is it all right, it is imbued with superpowers. The squirrel, now dubbed Ulysses, is truly an extraordinary creature. It can leap tall buildings with a single bound (and fly!). It has super strength. And best of all, it can write poetry. Flora is convinced that Ulysses is a superhero, and it’s up to her to help him fulfill his destiny and protect him from his nemesis. Trouble is, how do you tell who a true nemesis is? And what if it turns out to be someone close to home?


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