Customer Review

89 of 93 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mercy Watson for the (Somewhat) More Grown Up, August 22, 2013
This review is from: Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (Hardcover)
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And I don't mean the title as an insult or backhanded compliment.

My daughter and I come to this from the younger audience DiCamillo books - most specifically the wonderful, screwball Mercy Watson books. My daughter is a second-grader for whom this is a tad advanced, mostly in the vocabulary, though I suspect most of the target audience and even a few adults, may have trouble here and there with this. As a result, we used this as a read-aloud, with the graphic chapters shared in a huddle. Our composite review is a big thumbs up.

In Flora, DiCamillo has created a wonderful main character - an extremely intelligent and sensitive 10-year-old girl living in a world in which the adults around her don't seem to have much use for her, so she reasonably views their world with a jaundiced eye. She retreats into "cynicism" and comics until the world rather rudely and amusingly puts her into contact with a most amazing squirrel and some pretty screwball characters who will by turns exasperate, fascinate and enlighten her into some of the ways other people chose, or fall into, to cope with their sometimes hostile and uncaring worlds.

Despite how angsty that last paragraph is, the book is for the most part a hoot - it is just a hoot with a point or two to make. My daughter and I both came to like Flora's dad, understand her mom, adore Ulysses, the superhero squirrel (and despite some of the other reviews you might read - he DOES indeed save a life here), and appreciate William Spiver.

Only complaint - and the reason for the docking of one star (though I wish I could dock only a half-star) - there are places here in which, much like the Mercy Watson books, DiCamillo pushes the quirkiness just a bit too far a bit too often. That said, there is a lot more here to like.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 8, 2014 5:58:46 PM PDT
M. Donovan says:
J Hundley,
Great review. You completely captured the many charms and the one slight flaw of this book.
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