I have always wondered what it is about children’s stories that immediately draw me to them. The need to read almost all of what is written in that genre and still crave for more. It is always so calming – the reading of stories written for children. At one point or the other, it almost makes you want to believe in everything and everyone – all over again. It makes you want to be a child – all safe and sheltered.
“Flora & Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo is one such book I stumbled on this year and I cannot be gladder than having read it before the year ended. “Flora & Ulysses” is about an eleven-year old girl, who is a cynic and a squirrel with superpowers. It seems wonderful, doesn’t it? It is more wondrous than it sounds. It all begins when a squirrel gets sucked into a Ulysses vacuum cleaner (hence the name), almost dies and survives because of Flora and before you know it, he has acquired super powers (which I will not discuss here) and also an archenemy that must be stopped. Besides this, the squirrel knows how to type and write poems (he loves poetry after all).
In all of this, there is Flora’s neighbour, her parents (divorced and estranged), a lamp most hated and a boy who will not remove his sun glasses, because he thinks he is blinded. To read such a story is always heart-warming. I could see myself fawning over the characters just as soon as I began the story. The book is all about hope and love and a heart that can change.
To me, the book was just right and came to me at the right time, when probably I was in danger of becoming a cynic. Sometimes you need the required optimism and belief from other sources and what other way to get it than through a wonderfully written book of young children, squirrels with superpowers and characters who want to change the world – one day at a time.