Tag Archives: Kate DiCamillo

Raymie Nightingale

Raymie Nightingale

by Kate DiCamillo

263 pgs.

5th Grade and up

raymie nightingale

“There were three of them, three girls.”

Raymie, “flexing her toes and isolating her objectives”,  and her two unlikely companions: Beverly, looking permanently fierce, and Louisiana, who is decked out in pink and a mass of hair barrettes for luck. These girls are enrolled with this alarming character to learn baton twirling in order to compete in the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition.

Marvelous kids, appalling circumstances: a dead-beat dad, a mother with a fist, a lovable but klepto grandmother, and other sadly deficient grown-ups.  How’s a kid to figure it all out?  But they do somehow, through friendship, daring, and resourcefulness.  This is a whimsical, funny-sad story.  It isn’t necessarily a book only for young readers.  It can take you back to your childhood and the sometime obsessive need one had to fix important stuff that had become unraveled, because somehow you felt that only you could.  DiCamillo captures the sense of all that.

One of my all time favorite children’s books is The Tale of Despereaux.  This novel is so different but shows the depth and range of this wonderful author.


Aargh….! What happened in the 2000X vacuum!!?

Adapted from the Horn Book Guide Review:

Ten-year-old Flora Belle Buckman’s life changes when she resuscitates a squirrel after his near-death experience with her neighbor’s Ulysses 2000X vacuum.

Flora discovers that the incident has caused the squirrel, whom she also names Ulysses, to acquire superpowers. There’s only one problem: Ulysses’s archnemesis, Flora’s self-absorbed, romance novel -writing, squirrel-hating mother.

Beneath the basic superhero-squirrel-friend plot, DiCamillo focuses on larger life issues such as loss and abandonment, acceptance of difference, loneliness, love, overcoming fears, and the complexity of relationships.

Ulysses loves to eat …just about anything; and there is a quirky supporting cast, including Flora’s absent-minded father, her eleven-year-old neighbor William Spiver, and his great-aunt, Tootie Tickham. This little girl and squirrel and their heartwarming tale could melt even the most hardened archnemesis’s heart. CYNTHIA K. RITTER

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo click on this link

Here’s the kicker: Come in and CHECK IT OUT or say “Ulysses!” and you will receive the book and a prize!