We started reading the latest book by the most amazing and incandescent Kate DiCamillo today, and it was illuminating! Flora and Ulysses:The Illuminated Adventures is about Flora, a “natural born cynic” and a superhero squirrel named Ulysses. Let me just say that this already seems like a perfect book to read aloud with 5th graders who have been devouring KD’s books. We started by looking up the word “cynic.” We talked a little about its meaning, and the kids came up with some great connections. Then we watched the “Official Book Trailer” and talked a bit about what we knew about Kate DiCamillo’s characters and ways this book might fit with what we know to be true about KD ….. often themes of loss and abandonment, hope and redemption, characters who are out of the mainstream ….. all this before we even read the first page! It is so amazing how much strong thinking work my students did today off of the intro and first chapter of a book. It just reaffirms my feelings for how important the Read Aloud is to overall reading instruction. Today also just reminded me of how special Kate DiCamillo is ….. a true superhero!