Okay, I know what you’re thinking- Geez, M, you’re supposed to be reading a book every month! Or maybe you aren’t thinking that. Maybe you’re thinking about the great spinach salad you had last night or an upcoming trip. Maybe you’re even thinking about a great book you’re reading. What are you reading?
In the adventure of reading my way through 2014 (in case you missed the other posts, Mr. Grassroofs got me a book per month for this entire year), I read Flora and Ulysses in May. Flora and Ulysses won the Newberry Medal this year. And for good reason! This book is delightful! The protagonist, Flora, is a natural born cynic but undergoes a change of heart after rescuing a squirrel from a freak vacuum accident. As a result of his accident, Ulysses, as he comes to be known, develops super powers. Together the duo battles through the minefield that is adolescence after a recent divorce.
Flora’s voice is not entirely unlike Hazel Grace’s voice in The Fault in Our Stars. And just like John Green, Kate DiCamillo does a beautiful job of giving all the characters enough quirk to be funny but enough humanity to be relatable. Coupled with several pages and some entire chapters told in a graphic novel style (read: comics), this book captures a voice for this age group that absolutely needed capturing. As I read, I found myself grateful to DiCamillo, not only for allowing me the pleasure of the story, but also for reaching all the kiddos who need this story.
That brings me to my next point, which is: This is a great read aloud! I read it to second graders, who did not get every single joke but who flipped over reading about a Super Squirrel! I mean, who wouldn’t? They loved some of the quirky, repeated phrases like, “George Buckman, how do you do?” and they loved that William Spiver was always called by his full name. Tiny children, laughing hysterically and playing “Flora and Ulysses: The Game” on the playground. Serious cute factor.
Did you read Flora and Ulysses? What did you think about it?