Kate DiCamillo has won a Newbery Honor for Because of Winn-Dixie, the Newbery Medal for The Tale of Despereaux, the Geisel Honor for Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, and more. So when she publishes a new book, the kidlit world pays attention. Flora & Ulysses has only been on shelves for about a week, and it already has four starred reviews and a spot of the National Book Award long list. That’s a good start, I must say.
I’d heard some of the buzz about the book, but I hadn’t yet had a chance to read it until I happened to catch Cathy Wurzer’s interview with Kate DiCamillo on MPR. The author read the first several chapters of Flora & Ulysses. I listened as the story began with a vacuum cleaner, then we were introduced to Flora Belle Buckman–a natural-born cynic–and the squirrel who may or may not be a superhero. I found myself laughing out loud while listening to the program at my desk via headphones, and as soon as it ended, I went in search of a copy of the book.
It was, indeed, quite funny. But it was also pretty serious, in a way. Philosophical too. I mean, how many children’s books talk about Pascal’s Wager? No matter where one falls on the believer/nonbeliever spectrum as far as Pascal is concerned, this book sets out to remind readers that it is worth it to believe in love, to be open to wonder, hope, and poetry. I was quite charmed. I hope you will be too.
Did you miss last month’s Book Pick: Hello, My Name is Ruby by Philip Stead