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Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 28 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures.
This section contains 1,072 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures Summary & Study Guide Description

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo.

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures was written by Kate DiCamillo. Flora Belle Buckman is a self-described cynic who finds herself at odds with her mother after her parents’ divorce. While reading a comic book her mother has asked her not to read, Flora sees the neighbor accidentally vacuum up a squirrel in her backyard. Flora comes to the rescue of the squirrel, who immediately exhibits unusual abilities. Flora believes the squirrel is a superhero and that her mother is its arch-nemesis. For this reason, Flora sets out to save her squirrel from her mother only to find it is the squirrel who saves them. Flora and Ulysses is an entertaining novel of family dynamics that takes both Flora and the reader on a journey of self-discovery.

Flora Belle Buckman has signed a contract with her mother in which she has agreed to stop reading so many comic books in favor of better literature. However, Flora shared the comic books about the unassuming janitor Alfred T. Slipper who fell into a vat of a cleaning fluid and became the superhero named Incandesto to her father. Flora’s parents have recently gotten divorced, making his connection to her father even more important to Flora.

As Flora reads, she hears a noise in the neighbor’s yard. As Flora watches from her bedroom window, she sees Mrs. Tickham accidentally vacuum up a squirrel. Flora runs over and rescues the squirrel, performing a version of CPR that brings the animal back to life. The squirrel then picks up the heavy vacuum, demonstrating what Flora sees as superhero characteristics. Flora takes the squirrel home, taking into the house without hiding it, but her mother misses the animal because she is absorbed in writing her latest romance novel.

Flora spends the evening with the squirrel. When Flora speaks to the squirrel, he seems to understand her, increasing her belief that he is a superhero. That night, the squirrel sneaks down to the kitchen where he rummages for food. After satiating his hunger, the squirrel then types several words on the typewriter Mrs. Buckman uses for her work. Mrs. Buckman is angry the next morning, thinking that Flora must have played with the machine. While they argue over the situation, the doorbell rings.

Flora opens the door and finds the neighbor woman, Mrs. Tickham, there. Mrs. Tickham wants to see the squirrel. Flora tells Mrs. Tickham that she has named the squirrel Ulysses and that she believes he wrote with her mother’s typewriter. A moment later, Mrs. Tickham is joined by her nephew, a young man Flora’s age who insists that he is suffering from temporary blindness. Flora dislikes this young man, William Spiver, immediately.

Flora, Mrs. Tickham, and William Spiver go to Mrs. Tickham’s home to discuss Ulysses. While there, William Spiver expresses doubt as to whether Ulysses actually wrote with the typewriter, suggesting that they have him write on Mrs. Tickham’s computer. Ulysses not only writes on the computer, but he composes a short poem.

Flora is called home. Her father has arrived to take her out for their weekly visit. When Flora returns home, she hides on the stairway to listen to her parents talk. As she does, Flora learns that her mother is convinced Ulysses is ill and she wants Mr. Buckman to kill and bury the animal. Flora is upset by this, now convinced that her mother is Ulysses’s arch-nemesis.

Flora and her father go to a local diner to have breakfast. Flora insists on taking Ulysses inside with them. However, chaos ensues when the waitress insists on seeing Ulysses and frightens him with her sudden scream. Ulysses gets tangled in the woman’s hair and then flies into the door when Flora encourages him to be himself. Flora and her father escape the diner and go to his new home, an apartment building that houses a mean, unpredictable cat.

While dodging the cat, Mr. Klaus, in the hallway, Flora insists on visiting a neighbor of her father whose door announces two doctors live there. When the door opens, Flora meets Dr. Meescham, a kindly doctorate of philosophy who is good friends with Mr. Buckman. Dr. Meescham examines a cut on Ulysses’ head and declares him healthy. Afterward, they share jelly sandwiches as Dr. Meescham tells them stories of her childhood and her beloved, deceased husband.

When her father takes her home, Flora discovers William Spiver in the kitchen with her mother. Flora announces she wants to move in with her father. Mrs. Buckman becomes upset and says some cruel things. This only makes Flora’s determination stronger, but then her father convinces her to stay with her mother for the time being. In fact, Mrs. Buckman seems nicer, even inviting Ulysses to eat dinner at the table with them.

During the night, Flora has warned Ulysses not to go into the kitchen, but he disobeys her because he wants to write on the typewriter. Just as he finishes a poem for Flora, Ulysses is caught by Mrs. Buckman. Mrs. Buckman forces Ulysses to write a note of lies to Flora before she takes him from the house. When Flora wakes in the night and finds Ulysses gone, she decides to enlist William Spiver’s help in finding him.

Flora takes her mother’s beloved lamp, one of the first things she bought with her romance novel money, and goes to the Tickham home in search of William Spiver. Flora manages to wake William Spiver, but he, in turn, wakes Mrs. Tickham. The three of them search for Ulysses in Mrs. Tickham’s car, but soon run out of gas. They begin to walk. William Spiver trips over the lamp cord as they walk and his glasses are broken. William Spiver suddenly realizes he can see again.

Ulysses escapes from Mrs. Buckman where she has taken him to the woods. He flies to the home of Dr. Meescham. Flora, Mrs. Tickham, and William Spiver also go to the apartment building in search of Mr. Buckman. As they reunite, they hear screaming from the hallway. Mr. Klaus has attacked Mrs. Buckman who has just arrived. Ulysses saves Mrs. Buckman from the cat. Mrs. Buckman announces how she came home and found Flora missing and was terribly frightened for her wellbeing. This heals some old wounds and allows the family to settle into a new normal.

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