So I mentioned the other day that Kate DiCamillo had won (another) Newbery medal this year? This is the book!
Flora & Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press, ISBN: 978 0 7636 6040 6
Kate DiCamillo, it must be said, is a beautiful writer. I’ve loved several of her past works – The Tale of Desperaux, about a heroic mouse with a head full of fairy tales; Because of Winn-Dixie, about a dog with an amazing gift for social interactions; The Magician’s Elephant, about magic things that are possible, and learning to believe. She is truly gifted, and certainly, Newbery material, so if you aren’t already a fan, you should try a few of these, which are the creamiest of the cream.
This last book is both a departure and very much her style, in that its format is regular chapters mixed with short graphic interludes, nodding to Flora’s love of comics, but the story treads some of the same ground she has before. It is, for example, the story of a small, fuzzy rodent with the heart of a hero who comes to the aid of a human girl he loves – so Desperaux. It is also about opening your mind and heart to the impossible, and having wonderful changes happen as you embrace the expanding of your universe, much like The Magician’s Elephant.
That she returns to these themes makes it no less wonderful, of course, and this is a little easier and quicker book to read – about a grade 3-ish book, I’d say, bringing her sense of wonder and her frankly lovely use of words to a slightly younger audience, though I do think any of her others could be read alouds for youngers, too. I’m planning on giving this one to my grade 4 to read now that I’ve read it, and I expect she’ll enjoy it, light as it might be.
Also available as an ebook.