5: Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

Flora & Ulysses Cover

In this episode, we discuss the 2014 Newbery Medal winner Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo. In the words of Elizabeth Bird from School Library Journal (slj.com), “It lures you in with the ridiculous and then when you least expect it gets you in the gut with a bolt of pure, uncut, unadulterated meaning.” Team Friendship absolutely agrees with this review! We love this book, and we had so much fun discussing it!

Show Notes:

  • The chapter in which Lauren’s daughter turns two!
  • Mandy’s unfortunate event with a broken tooth
  • Leah is enjoying being back in town with Lauren and Mandy!
  • How to be a writer: Wear “black turtlenecks and act bored and brooding.”
  • But for real: “Learn to make mistakes.” Not everyone is Mozart…talent takes work and doesn’t always come naturally.
  • Terrible rough drafts in a museum
  • “That inspires me!” Mandy admits that she has had an idea for a book in her head for 5 years.
  • A shovel and an old t-shirt = how to help a sick squirrel
  • It all started with a vacuum cleaner
  • Get out your tissues. We listen to Kate’s Newbery acceptance speech for Flora & Ulysses…and we all cry.
  • Joy in sorrow
  • “The opposite of banished is the sound of someone calling you home.”
  • Lauren gets deep and shares what home means to her as well as her love for Pilgrim’s Progress
  • Comic books are awesome, okay!
  • This book is a piece of art! Leah hates dust covers, and we all love the book cover for the hardback version of this book! Donuts and gold lettering – you can’t beat that!
  • Loneliness and acceptance
  • Divorce: The team each share their experience of being children of divorced parents and how they were able to relate to the character of Flora in this book.
  • Use of humor to deal with hardship: Now it’s Leah’s turn to cry.
  • “Is it bad to compare myself to a squirrel?” – Mandy
  • The universe expanding = more giant donuts “I’ve literally dreamt of donuts the last few weeks!” -Mandy
  • William Spiver – funny and heartbreaking
  • Internalize, internalize, internalize…explode!
  • Tootie Tickham – the opposite of Bilbo Baggins
  • Phyllis, normalcy, and the symbolism of Mary Ann
  • George, George Buckman!
  • Is Blundermeecen a real place or just something that Dr. Meescham made up in her mind?
  • After reading this book, Leah may or may not enjoy picturing words above her head.
  • “Very annoying” is putting it nicely!
  • Children are affected by the words their parents say, even if they are not spoken directly to them.
  • Cynicism: a good thing or a bad thing?
  • Leah reveals her theory on Blundermeecen…and our minds are blown!
  • The human heart and total depravity
  • If someone does something evil because they are lonely, is it okay?
  • Different interpretations: Leah and Lauren debate the ending of this book.
  • Mandy’s review of the book: It’s just this really cool story of a girl and her squirrel with some stuff sprinkled in that makes you cry a little.
  • Dear Newbery Committee, please reveal your process of choosing the medal winner!
  • Lauren announces the next Newbery Medal book we will be reading, and she’s not crying “Wolf!” 😉
  • For the love of books! Video games (that’s book related, right?), Audio books, and Unfortunate Events, oh my!
  • Harry Potter is always the exception
  • Book News! Mandy is slightly more prepared this time!
  • How does this book end??? This episode went a little bit longer than our usual episodes, so several minutes had to be edited out for time. But if you are interested in hearing some of those moments, stay tuned after the ending for over 4 minutes of bonus content!

Links related to this episode:

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures available on Amazon –  http://amzn.to/2oK0dsT 


What should I read next? Podcast: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/what-should-i-read-next/

All the Books Podcast: http://bookriot.com/listen/shows/allthebooks/

Get Booked Podcast: http://bookriot.com/listen/shows/getbooked/

The Book Review New York Times Podcast: https://www.nytimes.com/column/book-review-podcast