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Dicamillo, Kate.
Somerville, MA : Candlewick, 2013
IL 3-6

(3 booktalks)
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Booktalk #1

It all began with an out of control vacuum cleaner.  Tootie had totally lost control and never saw the squirrel who was sucked up with a terrible sound.  When the squirrel was released from the vacuum, most of his fur was gone and there was something different about him.  Holy bagumba!  Flora Belle Buckman thinks she knows what is going on.  Flora spends a lot of time reading comic books and just knows that the squirrel, Ulysses, is really a superhero that just looks like a squirrel.  He flies, he vanquishes cats and he even types out poetry.  This is incredible.  But Flora's mother decides that the squirrel must go.

Booktalk #2

As Flora Belle Buckman sits in her room reading a comic book, disobeying the contract* she signed with her mother, she hears what sounds like a jet engine in her neighbor’s yard. She looks out the window to see Mrs. Tickham’s runaway vacuum sucking up a poor squirrel and rushes out to save the day. After giving mouth-to-mouth on lips that taste fuzzy, damp and slightly nutty, Flora manages to bring the little creature back to life. The encounter with the vacuum and his new human friend has left the squirrel feeling very grateful, happy and in possession of some new powers, including super-squirrel strength. Thus begins the friendship and adventures of Flora and Ulysses.
As the narration alternates between girl and squirrel, the two new friends, along with Tootie Tickham’s blind nephew William Spiver, set out to deal with the crazy cast of adults who disrupt and enrich their lives. “Holy bagumba!”
*In this contract, Flora agrees “to turn her face away from the idiotic high jinks of comics and toward the bright light of true literature.” Her mother wrote the contract. Her mother writes romance novels for a living.
  (Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher award, 2015)

Booktalk #3

Ten–year-old Flora loves comics, especially the super-hero one called, The Illuminated Adventures of the Amazing Incandesto. Watching out her window, she witnesses her neighbor madly vacuuming the yard with her new “Ulysses Super-Suction Multi-Terrain 2000 X.” The vacuum charges towards a squirrel and sucks it up. Flora springs into action remembering the CPR tips included in her “Incandesto” comics.  Surprisingly she resuscitates the lifeless squirrel; who he stands up, lifts and shakes the impossibly heavy 2000X vacuum, and hungrily eats the falling scraps. Flora soon realizes she has a real super-hero friend in the form of this squirrel she names Ulysses. He communicates with Flora through poetry typed on her mother “a romance novel author’s” typewriter.  Will Flora and Ulysses be able to vanquish villains, support the strugglers, guard the weak, and find happiness, in this dynamic illuminated tale told through comic-book pages and text?  (Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award, 2015)

SUBJECTS:     Superheroes --  Fiction.
                        Squirrels -- Fiction

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