Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

flora and ulysses

Flora and Ulysses
Kate DiCamillo
Read by Tara Sands
3 Stars

Flora lives with her mother. Which is sometimes a bit frustrating for Flora, seeing how her mother doesn’t approve of her reading comic books, seems strangely attached to a lamp, and despises anything that isn’t normal. So when the next door neighbor runs over a squirrel with a vacuum cleaner and Flora saves the squirrel and names him Ulysses, Flora’s mother throws a fuss and becomes an arch-nemesis.

This story isn’t just about how Flora and her mother get along (or don’t). There is a bit of learning how to accept what is happening in the world around you and how to not be afraid of the unusual. But mostly it is about how sometimes discovering the unexpected is really discovering yourself. Even though Flora is a cynic (and most kids wont really know what that is until after it is explained in the book), she is also one of those loveable characters that kids can’t but help loving. Especially because she reads and can determine what qualities make up a superhero. And what readers won’t admire a character like that? As for the audio production, this is a great one. There is fun background music when Ulysses is being especially heroic. There is good tension and character voices. All in all this is a fun read for those old enough to want a book with some depth but not too old to enjoy the idea of a superhero squirrel.

Book discussion questions:
If you were a sidekick to a superhero (person or animal), what type of superhero would you want to be a sidekick for?
Why was Flora’s mom the arch-nemesis? Why didn’t she want Ulysses around?
Flora thought that her mom cared more about the little shepherdess than she did about her daughter. Why did she think that? Was it true?
Why do you suppose that the giant squid meant loneliness? Have you ever felt lonely?
What does William spiver do that annoys Flora? In what way is he a good friend? What do you do to show you are a good friend to others?

Listening Library, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-449-01515-5
Format: audio book
Ages: elementary school

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