Kate DiCamillo is one of a kind storyteller. If you have not yet read this author's books, then it is either because you're not an avid reader or you live under a rock. In either case, it is definitely a crying shame not have been touched by her stories. As the Summer Reading programs progress, it is appropriate to mention the author who has been chosen as the 2015 National Summer Reading Champion. It's an inspired choice.
There are stories that stay with a reader long after they are read. This is only true of stories that are well written. Ms. DiCamillo has managed to create these stories not once but several times over. Do the titles, Because of Winn Dixie or The Tale of Despereaux ring a bell? They should. Not only because they were fabulous books but because they were made into blockbuster movies as well. Her soft and soul stirring style in these stories contain a mix of magic and wonderment of what if's that truly belong in the world of children's stories and dreams. The stories are timeless. Her characters in spire readers to look beyond what they know and find a new reality where a lonely girl finds a furry best friend in a grocery store, a simple mouse can defend a princess, a beloved toy find his way home again and a superhero squirrel can save the day. Timeless, yes and special as well.
DiCamillo's latest book, Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures is another exceptional tale that brightens the children's literature bookshelves. It fits in with the theme, "Every hero has a story" and what a story she shares about Flora and Ulysses. It is well worth the time to read. Especially, out loud. The reader and audience will enjoy the story that flows from the pages, dances softly in the air and drifts directly into the heart. The cast of characters are quirky, lovable and strange but in a normal kind of way. This is especially true of Ulysses, your typical run of the mill, neighborhood squirrel who suddenly finds himself changed by a vacuum cleaner. Changed how? Some might say the vacuum cleaner changed him. Others may say it could be something more deeper and wonderful. Friendship. Love. Acceptance.
The brilliant part of this tale of an unlikely superhero is that it is a reminder that hope comes in all shapes and sizes. To be perfectly honest, it's a nice reminder. Which is why, this is a need-to-read book for this summer.