This is not my favorite work by DiCamillo. It often seemed silly and repetitive, annoying even. I certainly would not have awarded it a Newbery. But by the end, it had a sweetness to it, a completeness. A feel-good-ness.
Ulysses is a squirrel that was accidently vacuumed up by Mrs. Tootie Tickham. After receiving CPR, Ulysses finds he has super powers. He can fly, type, and understand human speech. He’s even acquired super strength.
(Are you catching on to the randomness?) Enter a neurotic nephew, an eccentric romance novelist, a cynic who learned all her coping skills from comic books, and a few more questionable characters, and you have the most bizarre tale I’ve read this year. Yet out from this mess rings a loud and hopeful theme—love, between friends and neighbors, between a girl and a squirrel, and between family members.
I have to include the epilogue because it’s my favorite part of the book. This is poetry written by a squirrel. It touches on all the weird things that happen in the book. It also illustrates the book’s redeeming quality.
Words for Flora
all of it—
sprinkles, quarks, giant
donuts, eggs sunny-side up—
are the ever-expanding
Silly? Yup. Random? Strange? Yup. Yup. But sweet. Recommended for ages 8+.
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