Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo is the funny book I read for my 2015 Reading Challenge. If there was a charming characters category, this children's novel would fit it, too.
Ulysses is a squirrel that is very strong, flies through the air with the greatest at ease, types, writes poetry, and loves Flora. All this he was able to do after he was sucked up by and spitted out of a super strong vacuum cleaner.
Flora Belle Buckman is a young girl who loves to read comic books, thinks of herself as a cynic, doesn't like that her parents are divorced, and loves Ulysses. Her mother, alas, wants nothing more than the squirrel to be no more, with the help of a sack and a shovel.
The quest for Flora and Ulysses is to remain together for as long as ever can be. She is helped by her neighbor Tootie Tickham who accidentally sucked Ulysses up in her vacuum cleaner; William Spiver, Tootie's grandnephew, who is temporarily blind, but nobody believes him; George Buckman, Flora's unhappy father; and Dr. Meescham, not a physician, and neighbor to George Buckman.
The story is both fantasy and real. I like the way the author handles the hard topic of how kids deal with divorce and new step parents. She isn't afraid to address how children and adults feel unhappy, lonely, and lost.
If I was a teacher, this would be a story I'd read out loud to my students, regardless of how old they are. I read a passage out loud to the Mama and the Husband at the lunch table one day, and their attention was caught. The Husband started reading the book before I finished it. Of course, he very patiently waited for me to put down the book after I had read a chapter or two or three.
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