In this Newberry Award winning novel, Kate DiCamillo tells the tale of young Flora, a self-professed cynic living withHoly bagumba, I loved this book!
In this Newberry Award winning novel, Kate DiCamillo tells the tale of young Flora, a self-professed cynic living with her mother, a romance novelist, after the divorce of her parents. While reading comic books, she spies a young squirrel outside her window who nearly meets his doom at the hands of a vacuum cleaner. Flora saves him and then befriends him after it is revealed that this near-death experience has left him with super-powers. In these pages we also meet her father, left adrift after the divorce, her neighbor, and her neighbor's great-nephew, William Spiver (both names, please, and never Billy). Their story is told through both words and the clever illustrations of K.G. Campbell. I loved it all.
This story was in turns hilarious, touching and heart-breaking. Flora is so fun to read and I just want to hang out with her and make sure she knows it is totally ok to be exactly who she is. Ulysses completely stole the show for me, though. His newfound love of living and life (and giant doughnuts, of course) is just beautiful. And one of his super-powers in particular literally brought me to tears at the end of the novel. Ms. DiCamillo's writing of this character was just perfect.
I can't speak to how well this would play with the middle grade intended audience, but I bet many would like it. It seems like a good bridge book for kids who already like reading comics or graphic novels. I do see some reviews that complain about the advanced language used by Flora and William, but I think lots of young kids could relate to it. And as for the heartbreak, many of the most loved children's novels are downright depressing when you think about it -- Charlotte's Web (death), Harriet the Spy (intense bullying), Narnia (lots of evil and betrayal) and the list goes on and on. I think this honest depiction of a divorced household and parents and children who don't always communicate that well will actually ring true for many. For me, this book would be a great conversation starter between a parent and their child and that's the most I could ask for....more
I don't remember enjoying this one as much when I read it when I was younger as I did this time around. I loved Prince Caspian and his development. EdI don't remember enjoying this one as much when I read it when I was younger as I did this time around. I loved Prince Caspian and his development. Edmund redeemed himself in this book for me. And oh Susan... It is so hard to be a frightened, unsure teenage girl. I forgive you, as I certainly behaved far worse toward my younger sibling and just generally than you did in this book. Christian themes remain strong in this volume, of course. It was somehow also less dark than LW&W since the battle was with man and his folly rather than with the forces of pure evil. Loved this!...more
This was definitely a children's/young adult book, so it was a super fast read, despite being many hundreds of pages. That said, it was GORGEOUS. WritThis was definitely a children's/young adult book, so it was a super fast read, despite being many hundreds of pages. That said, it was GORGEOUS. Written by an illustrator, and recent winner of the Caldecott medal, half of the story is told through pictures - almost to the point of being like a graphic novel. It was definitely a different experience to switch back and forth between written word and pictoral representation. But it's a beautiful story and well-worth the 1-hour it will take you to read the entire book. ...more