Flora & Ulysses by the Great Kate DiCamillo was published in 2013 was the 2014 Newbery Medal Winner. This is her second Newbery Medal. Yes, she writes that well.
The lexile measure on this book is 520, which is a bit low for it's intended audience, but this book could be used as a book for struggling readers because the content works for middle grade students, This book contains pictures and several pages are in comic book format, so the mix up of pictures, comics, and pages with words allows brain breaks for kids who need that. There is plenty of white space on the pages and the lines are wider spaced. I love all these features in a book because it helps those with reading disabilities, brain injuries, or seizure disorders.
This would be a wonderful book to read with a class as it uses humor to explain why we should seldom use exclamation points and all caps, the correct use of apostrophes, and the use of euphemisms.
Flora, the main character, is smart, brave, and kind, but she is a cynic. She is a strong girl - the kind of female character I like. Ulysses, the squirrel, is wonderful. His last poem could be a love letter to everyone who ever mattered to a person, so I won't share it here because I don't want to spoil the story, but it was the perfect way to end the book.
This story is a charming quick read.
From Kate's website:
It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences.
The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry—and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart.
From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format—a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by artist K. G. Campbell.