Flora and Ulysses Through the Eyes of a 5th Grader

Last Saturday, our family attended the Childsplay Theatre 2018 production of Flora and Ulysses. The acting was superb and the story line followed the Kate DiCamillo book which our family recently read.  The story is about Flora Buckman, a ten year old girl who loves comic books and has a pretty typical life with the exception that supernatural activities are happening all around her – thanks to her new found friend- Ulysses a superhero squirrel. As a mother of two middle school boys (11 years old), this play was sure to captivate and hold their attention.

Flora Belle.jpg

Our family has attended several of the Childsplay Theatre Storybook Season presentations. It’s awesome for the kids to make the connection from the book to the stage. My youngest son had just finished a book report on Flora and Ulysses for his local elementary school. His eyes were bright and full of joy, as he saw the story, previously just in his imagination, come to life on stage. He kept looking at me and whispering what was going to unfold next- as if he was the only one in the room who knew the story.

The audience was highly engaged, laughing at all the silly antics of Ulysses the squirrel played by Tommy Strawser. Tom did a fabulous job with the multiple squirrel puppet transitions. We learned that he had four different squirrels in use during the production.


The audience, especially the adults got misty eyed at the honesty and vulnerability of the parent/child relationships of the two child characters. Flora Belle Buckman and William Spiver both highlighted the power of our words. As parents, we are reminded that our words can hurt those we love most- our kids, especially when we say things when we’re upset. There’s always time to say you’re sorry and that parents make mistakes too.

When the play was over, the actors thoughtfully answered audience questions and engaged in dialogue about our own real life superpowers and how to use them for good in the world. When we were leaving, the staff passed out conversation questions for the drive home.  Our ride to dinner was filled with discussion about each of the characters and our favorite scenes in the play.

The cat who is scared in the hall.jpg

When I asked my 5th grade son for a recommendation he declared, “You’ll enjoy this play because Ulysses is not your typical squirrel. He is a superhero who can fly and loves to write poetry. He does silly things that humans would do like staying up all night working on a poem and eating a bag full of cheese puffs. Yeah, that’s what a 5th grader would do.”

We really enjoyed the Childsplay Theatre’s production of Flora and Ulysses and we hope you will too.

-Lisa Sandoval- Mommy Blogger and Mother of Two.

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