Sunday, November 17, 2013
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
The vocabulary is rich with words like malfeasance, planetary dislocations, and existential terror. There are "astonishing acts of heroism" and a great many "unanticipated occurrences." I also loved the way that poetry is treated with due respect.
After vanquishing a vicious cat, Ulysses "was enormously, inordinately pleased with himself. He felt immensely powerful! He felt like writing a poem!"*
The waitress at the Giant Do-Nut had her name tag spelled out in all capital letters: RITA! "Flora narrowed her eyes. The exclamation point made Rita seem untrustworthy, or, at the very least, insincere."**
Flora and Ulysses is a rollicking and witty adventure that would make a fantastic family read-aloud, suitable for all ages.
Readalikes: Mr and Mrs Bunny, Detectives Extraordinaire! (Polly Horvath); The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas (David Almond); The True Meaning of Smekday (Adam Rex)
*Coincidentally, in Thea Bowering's short story 'The Cannibals' (in Love at Last Sight), a modern-day little mermaid out for revenge is similarly inspired: "She had been trained to attack: when you find your mortal enemy, don't hesitate, close in quickly and write a poem."
**In yet another coincidence, this time in Worst. Person. Ever., Raymond has frustrating encounters with a airline lounge waitress wearing a name tag that says LACEY, and each time LACEY is mentioned in the text, her name is always presented like that: in all-caps and in a contrasting bold font.