Reviewed by Eoin
In this book by Kate DiCamillo, a young girl named Flora sees her neighbor being pulled across the lawn by a super-fast, super-sucking vacuum. As she watches, she realizes that her neighbor cannot control the machine and there is a squirrel in their path. The vacuum is going to swallow the unsuspecting squirrel. “Holy bagumba!” she yells. With a poof and a fwump, the squirrel disappears into the vacuum.
Leaping up from her perch in her bedroom window, she run out the door to try to help. Her neighbor is staring at the little tuft of a tail that is the only thing to be seen of the squirrel. Flora yanks the tail and pulls out the squirrel, which appears to be dead. By performing CPR, she brings it back to life. She and her neighbor discover that the squirrel has super-natural powers. She sneaks the creature into her house, naming him Ulysses.
He is very opinionated and has the obedience of a dog.
That may sound more intriguing than I found it. They have more adventures, but it never manages to pull me in. Unlike the great Because of Winn-Dixie, these characters seem bland and unappealing. The bond between all the characters (including between Flora and Ulysses) feels false and fake. It is not very strong and seems really artificial—no bond of love, friendship, or even hatred. Something. But there was really nothing there.
I started this book with high hopes because I love another one of her books (Because of Winn-Dixie). But I could barely make it through the first 50 pages. I would never discourage anyone from her other writing because she can be exceptional, but in this case, the book seemed so artificial that I never felt like I was in any kind of world or story.
HEY READERS! Has anyone else read this year’s Newbery Award winner? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!