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Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  33,247 ratings  ·  5,037 reviews
It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (th ...more
Hardcover, 233 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Candlewick Press (first published September 1st 2013)
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Ahmie My eldest read it with no problem in 4th grade and he's got a few learning disability issues. He loved it so much he's reread it about 5 times. My 2nd…moreMy eldest read it with no problem in 4th grade and he's got a few learning disability issues. He loved it so much he's reread it about 5 times. My 2nd turned 8 in June, is entering 3rd grade, identified as gifted, and reading this book now. There ARE some difficult words in this, so expect to need to define things occasionally - for instance, the word "malfeasance" shows up in the first few chapters.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  33,247 ratings  ·  5,037 reviews

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Lynn Plourde
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ten Reasons Why I LOVE
the 2014 Newbery Medal winner Flora & Ulysses
by Kate DiCamillo

# 10. This book cracked me up.
# 9. The hybrid combo of traditional chapter book and graphic novel segments works seamlessly and pulls
young readers into the story.
#8. More packed-in WORD POWER—malfeasance, capacious, obfuscation for starters—than any other kids’
book I know. (Heck, I have several degrees, I’m an author, and I didn’t know some of the words.)
#7. A kids’ book that can boost SAT scores.
I like a bit of subtlety with my “meaning”. What I mean by that is that when I pick up a book for kids, it’s tough on me, as a reader, to go through something saturated and imbued with the weight and splendor of meaning on every page. It bogs me down. And, to be frank, this is what makes it so hard for kids to read some of those old classics like Paula Fox’s The Slave Dancer or Johnny Tremain. Meaning, for me, should be a slight subtle thing that is all the more powerful when it comes seemingly ...more
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
I guess I have to explain myself after everyone I know has raved about this book. Initially I was loving it, but the ending didn't work for me. And after I finished it, I realized that while it was cute and quirky, it tried a bit too hard to be cute and quirky. Whatever it was that bothered me, it didn't get resolved and so I'm thinking this one is just OK.
Leigh Collazo

More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.

WHAT I LIKED: I am a huge Kate DiCamillo fan, so I was really excited to see that she has a new book coming out this month. As an extra bonus, Flora & Ulysses is told partially via short, full-page cartoon strips, which will make it especially popular with 8-11 year old readers.

DiCamillo's skillful use of vocabulary will help expose readers to words they likely have never seen. The squirrel is super-cute and the drawings made me smile. I loved his thought ca
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: to any middle grade reader (only slightly reluctantly)
Not a fan of Kate DiCamillo (I know, I know, blasphemy!) I only picked this up because it's a National Book Award longlist. I read it in a day and I must (begrudgingly) admit that I didn't hate it. Not much happens, but in a middle grade novel, that's not a bad thing. There are quirky characters, funny pictures, and enough graphic novel/comic panels to help librarians convince reluctant readers that it's worth the effort.

What bothered me most (and I swear this is legit, not just me rolling my ey
Sara Cantador
Una historia tierna, disparatada y llena de valores, con unos personajes entrañables y que trata muchos temas, con profundidad (todo lo posible por ser una obra infantil), humor y cariño. Una lectura muy recomendada.
Kate DiCamillo's contributions to the literary canon have been many things, but they have never been silly.


The Tiger Rising: subtle & thoughtful
Because of Winn-Dixie: tender & sweet
The Tale of Despereaux: warm & inviting
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane: heart-wrenching & deeply moving
The Magician's Elephant: somber & bleakly hopeful

But silly?


Until now.

Until Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures.

The premise itself is head-scratchingly silly (especial
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read for Children's Literature Network Book Club.

I often wonder what is inside Kate DiCamillo's head and heart...Where does it all come from? "Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventure" is another story of longing, loneliness, and love from DiCamillo. It tears at the heartstrings long after the reader has finished the book. Again, it is a story of the ages for the ages. With its beautiful imagery, multi-layered characters, messages for all ages, and spot-on illustrations, it is destined to be
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was ok

Good reads win (thanks again love) / 

The plot was jagged and torn by too many subplot and divisions. It had no clear indication of an initial or final destination which was one of its largest failings. Within it we have the magically superhero squirrel. Flora looking for independence, security, and love. But flora lives vicariously through the animal's accomplishments using them as some sort of extension for herself, almost as if she can get the life, hope, self love etc that was absent before sh
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-fiction, 2013
I loved this, and thought it was perfect.

All those goodreads haters on this book picking apart Flora's vocabulary need to see that Flora is trying like hell to guard her heart, and this little squirrel comes along and opens her heart.

This is a wonderous book where unbelievable things happen, and I think it's fine to believe that Flora can shout MALFEASANCE!!

Isn't it great to think that if you wanted to, you could shout, MALFEASANCE!

Since when would someone say, "That word is much too large fo
The Library Lady
Dear Ms DiCamillo,

I loved Because of Winn Dixie. I adored it.
But I've hated everything you've written since.

And it's not because I don't love fantasy and whimsy, because I do.

But your whimsical prose inevitably makes me want to throw your book out the window. And this one is no exception.

However, I will not throw it out the window. Instead, because it is a best seller I will carefully put it on my new book shelf and leave it for someone who takes the best seller lists seriously to read, or give
Josu Grilli
Mar 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-abril
Una divertida novela con una variedad de personajes a los que al final coges cariño. Es una novela rara (en el buen sentido), llena de situaciones irreales donde prima la inocencia infantil y el humor. Es una lectura simpática con una edición preciosa. Me ha gustado el mezclar el cómic con ilustraciones normales y texto. ¡Hacen más ágil la lectura!
Reread: November 2017
My daughter, who previously didn't want to read this book, confiscated my copy and finished it in one day. Now, we both have a soft spot for William Spiver and the poetic Ulysses. I have also decided that our next dog should be named Flora Belle. "What a lovely, melodious name."

Original Review: October 2017
I went into this middle grade book, thinking I wouldn't like it. I had gotten it out of the library hoping that either my 9 or 11 year old kids would be interested in rea
Abduraafi Andrian
Cuma IDR 60K di Big Bad Wolf Indonesia. Hihihi.

Setelah si kelinci Edward Tulane dan si tikus di "The Tale of Despereaux", kali ini ada Ulysses si tupai. Aku bertanya-tanya bagaimana jadinya kalau DiCamillo membuat cerita tanpa karakter hewan di dalamnya.

Flora si masa-bodo (apa ya terjemahan yang tepat buat "cynic"?) dan Ulysses sukses mengingatkan kembali tentang makna kasih-sayang.

Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Children (8-12), or someone wanting to read an endearing story.

I actually finished reading this book yesterday. And, for the first time since weekly writing reviews, I didn't post one right away. Sigh, I'm not sure how I feel about this one. It was predictable. It was for young readers- 8 to 12 years old- which doesn't quite apply for me. But really, who cares? I'm not a kid anymore, but I enjoyed reading this book! I needed something different and I got it!

If you think contemporary, well it's not quite that. Flora doesn't know how to interact with people.
Oct 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2013
I cannot imagine giving this book to any of my students. I found it weird and pointless. I also hate Dicamillo's use of repetitive language that is meant to be lyrical and touching. It just felt monotonous.
Mari Anne
Sep 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mg-ya
I started out loving "Flora...". It was typical DiCamillo charm; quirky characters and an endearing plot. However, somewhere along the way the story turned and it started to become a bit maudlin and dark. The ending was sweet, but felt a bit forced. The other thing that caused me to knock a star off the review, was that DiCamillo had a main character smoking (complete with illustration). It always bothers me to see characters in children's books aimed at the elementary set either smoking or drin ...more
This is a well written book with so much going on. It has interesting characters and fun situations. I don't know what it is about it but this story just didn't strike the right chord with me. Who knows. It was ok, I just didn't love it and I feel like I should have. The character I enjoyed the most was the doctor with the horsehair couch. I think younger people will enjoy it, there is a lot of action and a flying squirrel is fun. The whole thing didn't work for me. I think this is a me issue an ...more
Krista Regester
Mar 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I love Kate DiCamillo's writing, but something about this book just hit a nerve with me. I found almost every character more annoying than the last.. especially the squirrel. If you listen to the audio book you get a little more than you asked for with the the overindulging use of brass instruments. I think that there was more time spent reading the chapter names aloud than the actual chapters themselves.

Also: If I heard the term "for Pete's sake!!!!!" one. more. time. I was going to blow a gas
Maria Espadinha
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Santa Bagumba

Este livro é fresco, terno, doce...

Não é para rir!
Não é para chorar!
Mas é para sorrir!...

Santa Bagumba, adorei o livro! :)
Henry Martin
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Another great read by my favorite children's author.

This story marks a certain shift in DiCamillo's work for me, perhaps influenced by her work on the Mercy Watson series, where DiCamillo aims for the humorous side of life.
Compared to her other titles, Flora and Ulysses is a lighter read. In a way, it lacks the depth and drama of Edward Tulane or Desperaux or Tiger Rising. It is a more entertaining read; more playful, and slightly ridiculous in its subject matter. Considering the target audien
Najlepšia detská kniha od čias A Monster Calls. To si nemýľte s "kniha ako A Monster Calls". Ale máte časovú os a máte A Monster Calls. A potom máte dlho dlho nič... a Odyseusa.

Náš hrdina je veľmi obyčajná a veľmi hladná veverička, ktorá sa vyskytne v nesprávny čas na nesprávnom mieste. Ak máte nejaký iný nápad, ako povedať "veveričiaka povysáva vysávač", sem s ním - ale podstatou je, že to všetko pozoruje z okna desaťročná Flora. Ktorá vzápätí vybehne von a veveričiaka umelým dýchaním zachráni.
~♥~ happinesslife

La historia nos la cuentan en tercera persona y en capítulos cortitos, también mezclando algunas viñetas de comic, principalmente centradas en Ulises y Flora, mientras nos cuentan historias de los otros personajes. Este libro tiene pequeños y ligeros aprendizajes que nos cuentan estos lindos personajes como la felicidad, es mundo, la familia, el amor, la soledad...
Las ilustraciones y la edición de este libro me ha encantado! Se nota que está muy cuidada y
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-grade
Frankly, I was disappointed by this book. It had its moments. It was cute. But that was all ruined for me by the fact that Flora has absolutely no respect for either of her parents. And her parents are made out as bumbling idiots. Oh, and her mother ends up the villain of the story.

I realize this is a middle-grade novel, and DiCamillo is probably trying to play to her audience. She probably thinks this is the time when kids lose respect for their parents and stop seeing them as perfect. I would
Flora J
Sep 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
A disgrace to my name
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Last spring, Jack Gantos and I were hangin’ out, shootin’ the breeze*, and talking about which new kids’ books we liked. He said that he really liked Mr. and Mrs. Bunny –Detectives Extraordinaire, partly because Horvath’s animals are smart. He remarked that just because your characters are animals doesn’t mean that they have to be dull-witted. I think he actually used a funnier word than that, but it’s been too long and I don’t remember what it was. If you see him around, ask him about stupid an ...more
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: estantería
Flora y Ulises es una novela que me ha gustado muchísimo, cargada de valores y con una enseñanza muy bonita entre sus páginas. Se trata de una novela autoconclusiva ganadora de varios premios y que ha sido una de las novelas más famosas en Estados Unidos en 2014. Es una novela corta, con muchísimas ilustraciones y con una edición impoluta.
Siguiendo por el tema de la edición es algo que, sin duda, cabe a destacar en una reseña. Esta novela es de tapa dura, contiene en su interior ilustraciones pr
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Kate DiCamillo is a contemporary children’s literature icon. She’s mastered picture books; early readers; chapter books; novels; and now, she’s just obliterated all of the today’s most popular formats: graphic novel / illustrated novel / traditional novel. Flora and Ulysses not only merges these formats, Kate works a commentary about them seamlessly into the story.

I’m not making any bones about, I celebrate Kate’s entire catalog- but for my money, Bink and Gollie is rarified air that I didn’t t
Holly Mueller
"Holy bagumba!" I loved this book! Kate DiCamillo is a magician with words and stories. I love how she combines fantasy, friendship, and quirkiness in all her books to make unforgettable characters. This one involves a squirrel who gains superhero powers after being sucked into the Ulysses 2000X vacuum cleaner (weird, I know, but somehow this story element works) and captures the heart of Flora who names him Ulysses, of course. He is a poet and valiant friend, keeping Flora company in her self-p ...more
Jul 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
If it weren't for the fancy vocabulary words - sepulchral, capacious, euphemistic - and the fact that it features a poetry-writing squirrel, I can't believe this book would have had a chance at winning the Newbery. As it is, I can't agree with this choice. Not much of a story, and if certain characters refrained from repeating themselves or insisting on being called by both a first and a last name every time they are mentioned or spoken to, this book would be many pages briefer. The subtitle mig ...more
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Ashley Evans Book Review 7 1 5 Nov 10, 2017 08:37PM  
Play Book Tag: Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo - 4 stars 5 15 Jul 14, 2017 08:21AM  
Cynic? 1 7 Feb 14, 2017 06:38AM  
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Kate DiCamillo, the newly named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2014–2015, says about stories, “When we read together, we connect. Together, we see the world. Together, we see one another.” Born in Philadelphia, the author lives in Minneapolis, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week.

Kate DiCamillo's own journey is something of a dream come true. After
would be
easier without
because you
all of it-
sprinkles, quarks, giant
donuts, eggs sunny-side up-
are the ever-expanding
to me.”
“I promise to always turn back toward you.” 49 likes
More quotes…