Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Book Reviews: Flora and Ulysses – The Illuminated Adventures

Written by Kate DiCamillo
Reviewed by Tristan K, age 10, California
Published by Candlewick Press
Recommended for ages 8 to 12


Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventure is about a squirrel, named Ulysses, who can type on a typewriter, fly through the air, and lift something a 10-year old, named Flora, barely can. Flora is an unhappy girl who is obsessed with super heroes and comics, and Ulysses captures her imagination.

This book bounces back and forth from Flora’s to Ulysses’ points of view. Flora spends a lot of her time with adults who don’t pay much attention to her, and it makes her unhappy. She has named herself a cynic. Ulysses is an ordinary squirrel who becomes extraordinary when he is sucked up by a vacuum cleaner. Ulysses is just a squirrel, but later becomes Flora’s best friend.

Along the way the two friends learn that people are different than they look. For example, Flora’s mother paid more attention to her lamp than to her daughter, until Flora is attacked by a cat and her mother then begins asking her if her baby (meaning Flora) was okay.

Flora first realized Ulysses had special powers when he picked up a vacuum cleaner that she couldn’t. One time Ulysses shined was when he typed poetry on Flora’s mother’s typewriter. Another time, Ulysses was a hero when he escaped from Flora’s mother, who was always trying to get rid of him because he is a rodent.

I liked this book because it was full of fun adventure and made you think twice about judging someone.  It also won the 2014 Newberry Award for books. I also liked it because mixed in with the book were cartoons of the characters. Lovers of action, fiction, and extraordinary occurrences will enjoy this book.