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Flora leaned forward. She squinted. She tried to make sense of the word typed at the top of the page.

Squirtel!

“Squirtel!” said Flora out loud; she felt a surge of delight at the zippy idiocy of the word. It was almost as good a word as Tootie.

“Keep reading,” said her mother.

“ ‘Squirtel!’ ” said Flora again. “ ‘I am. Ulysses. Born anew.’ ”

“Do you think that’s funny?” said her mother.

“Not really,” said Flora. Her heart was beating very fast in her chest. She felt dizzy.

“I have told you and told you to leave this typewriter alone,” said her mother.

“I didn’t …” said Flora.

“What goes on here is a serious business,” said her mother. “I am a professional writer. I am under deadline for this novel. This is no time for high jinks. Plus, you ate a whole bag of cheese puffs.”

“I did not,” said Flora.

Her mother pointed at an empty Cheese-o-mania bag on the counter. And then she pointed at the typewriter.

Flora’s mother liked to point at things.

“You left cheese dust all over the typewriter. That’s disrespectful. And you simply cannot eat a whole bag of cheese puffs. It’s not healthy. You’ll become stout.”

“I didn’t …” said Flora.

But then another wave of dizziness came over her.

The squirrel could type!

From “Flora & Ulysses:  The Illuminated Adventures.” ©2013 by Kate DiCamillo. Reproduced by permission of Candlewick Press.