Friday 29 November 2013

The Illuminated Adventures of Flora and Ulysses

The Illuminated Adventures of Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K. G. Campbell (Walker Books)
HC RRP $19.95
ISBN 9780763660406
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

The Illuminated Adventures of Flora and Ulysses’ clever and unique prose and style confirms that Kate DiCamillo is one of the most creative and versatile children’s writers today.

This outstanding book is full of wisdom and humour. It’s themes of grief and loss of various kinds - particularly that of the spirit, reflects on the importance of telling people that matter to you, that you love them.

The main characters are amazing. Ten year old Flora is a highly intelligent, reflective child who is trying to survive the divorce of her parents. Her way of coping is to bury herself in comics about her superhero, Incandesto, and his parakeet, Dolores. Her mother calls Flora a ‘natural-born cynic’ while she pours her emotionless self into the writing of romantic novels.

William Spiver who comes to live next door to Flora is temporarily blind due to an emotional trauma and comes with similar secret baggage to Flora’s. He is the only person that Flora can relate to. They both embark on a journey of the Self that begins when Flora resuscitates a squirrel that she names Ulysses, after he gets sucked up by a runaway vacuum cleaner.

This illuminating, powerful story of the heart has a rare and individual quality about it. The illustrations are superb and delicate like Flora and William Spiver, and highly enhance every significant scene and character they depict.

The Illuminated Adventures of Flora and Ulysses comes recommended as one of the best books you will ever read and own.

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