Marshmallow reviews Half Upon A Time by James Riley

Marshmallow has reviewed several books inspired by fairy tales before. See, for example, her reviews of A Tale Dark and Grim, Tuck Everlasting, and Ella Enchanted. This week she shares with us her thoughts on another book with a new take on an old fairy tale: Half Upon A Time by James Riley.

Marshmallow reviews Half Upon A Time by James Riley.
Marshmallow reviews Half Upon A Time by James Riley.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about fairy tales, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers):  Jack the thirteenth’s grandfather has been bugging him to go and find a princess to rescue. So when he fails his “rescue-a-princess” test, his grandfather is not pleased. Jack says that he should be able to find adventure where he is. And he says that he should just be able to hold out his arms and a princess should just appear. To highlight this, he holds out his arms. A ring of blue fire opens up and a strange girl falls out. She is wearing ripped blue pants and a shirt that says “Punk Princess”. And her hair has a strand that is dyed blue.

Jack and his grandfather think this girl must be a princess just because her shirt says so. Once they wake her up, they learn that her name is May. May is shocked to see that there is a fairy in Jack’s hair. She asks where her grandmother is. Then when they talk to her more, she says stuff that they don’t understand. For example, she talks about things like “computers”, which obviously don’t exist.

May explains that she and her grandmother were kidnapped, but while they were going into a portal, she struggled and she ended up here. But then, while Jack is talking to May, a lot of boys come over to try to marry her because apparently Jack’s grandfather went and told everyone that he found a princess. Jack and May have to run away from the boys and they learn something surprising. May’s grandmother might just be the long lost Snow White. And they have to find her. 

Marshmallow is reading Half Upon A Time by James Riley.
Marshmallow is reading Half Upon A Time by James Riley.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that this is a great book because it combines the modern world and the world of fairy tales. The story of Jack and the Beanstalk and the fairy tales of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty all come into the story. The way the author brings in all these stories and plays with them reminded me a bit of Soman Chainani’s School for Good and Evil series.

Also I think that this book is funny because Jack doesn’t know about computers or phones or doctors. In his realm they are called healers. When May says that this is just a fairy tale, Jack says that fairies don’t have tails. He doesn’t say it as a joke though because he actually thinks that she means fairy tails.

Half Upon A Time is part of a series, and I haven’t read the next book, but this book is a great book by itself. Still it is probably a good idea to read the next books, because not all story lines are concluded in the first book. (I mean that the problems are not fixed, but it doesn’t really end in a cliffhanger.)

I don’t really have a favorite character in this story because a lot of the characters are great. 

Half Upon A Time is probably best for ten year olds and up, though it is a great book that would be entertaining for all ages. It is not a really scary book, but it still might be scary to younger bunnies. If you have particularly cautious little readers, reading it before giving it to them might be a good idea.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Half Upon A Time by James Riley 95%.
Marshmallow rates Half Upon A Time by James Riley 95%.

Caramel reviews Only One You by Linda Kranz

Caramel read Only One You by Linda Kranz at school a year ago. When the school principal came to their class meeting this week to read it to the whole class, Caramel decided he would like to review it for the blog. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Only One You by Linda Kranz.
Caramel reviews Only One You by Linda Kranz.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, tell me about this book.

Caramel: It’s about these fishies. The parent fishies are talking about being independent.

S: Yes, I think it is these parent fishies that are giving some life advice to the young fish before he sets off for the wide world.

C: Yes, the young fish is named Adri.

S: So what kinds of advice does Adri get?

C: “Always be on the lookout for a new friend”, “Look for beauty wherever you are and keep the memory of it with you.”

S: Those sound like good advice.

C: There is more! “Blend in when you need to. Stand out when you have a chance.”

S: Hmm, that is also good advice.

C: There is still more!

S: Well, we can’t just write the whole list of advice here and finish the whole book!

C: Yes we can!

S: That would not be so nice Caramel. Bunnies and their parents should be able to discover what is in the book on their own.

C: But we did give away only a few.

S: Well, here is one that I liked a lot: “Set aside some quiet time to relax and reflect every day.”

Caramel is reading Only One You by Linda Kranz: "Set aside some quiet time to relax and reflect every day."
Caramel is reading Only One You by Linda Kranz: “Set aside some quiet time to relax and reflect every day.”

S: Do you know what that means?

C: Reflect? I know what reflect means. And this means find time to think about your day a bit.

S: I think you got the gist of it!

C: And I like this one: “If something gets in your way, move around it.” The fishies are moving in a straight line and someone puts in a fishing line breaking their path. The fishies just move around it and continue their way.

Caramel is reading Only One You by Linda Kranz: "If something gets in your way, move around it."
Caramel is reading Only One You by Linda Kranz: “If something gets in your way, move around it.”

S: Yes, I love how the fishies are so cute and colorful!

C: They look like they’re made of stone. Like rock art. Actually I think that the background in the pictures, when you see the ocean, is not hand-drawn. I think the backgrounds are real photos, and then someone drew colorful rock-art fishies in the front.

S: Hmm, that is very interesting! Linda Kranz, the person who created the book is a rock art expert. And by rock art, I do not mean the ancient version where people made art on rock walls or created art by putting various rocks together, but the newer one where people paint individual rocks. And it does really look like each of the fishies is an individually colored pebble.

C: There is one that looks like The Starry Night by Van Gogh! Another fish looks like it has multiple suns on it!

S: They are very colorful and distinct all of them. And the advice is really good too. I think we can read and reread this book several times and zero in on a different piece of advice every time.

C: Yes.

S: So let us just read it again. But before that, give me three words that describe this book!

C: “Colorful”. Hmm, and there is wisdom in it…

S: So maybe “wise”?

C: Yes. And … “mixed”. There are a lot of ideas and a lot of different types of art in it. And fishies!

S: Yes, those are all true Caramel. Let us wrap this up then.

C: Stay tuned for more book bunnies reviews!

Caramel loved reading Only One You by Linda Kranz, and recommends it to all little bunnies!
Caramel loved reading Only One You by Linda Kranz, and recommends it to all little bunnies!

Marshmallow reviews The Mark of Athena (Book 3 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan

Marshmallow reviewed the first book of Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series: The Lost Hero, as well as the second book, The Son of Neptune. Today she reviews the third book: The Mark of Athena.

Marshmallow reviews The Mark of Athena (Book 3 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow reviews The Mark of Athena (Book 3 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you liked reading some of Rick Riordan’s other books or just like reading about Greek and Roman mythology, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Before you read this blog post, you might want to read my other reviews of this series.

With the Argo II, a flying ship with many cool additions, Annabeth and the three half-bloods who were the main characters in the first book (Jason, Leo, and Piper), together with their protector Coach Gleeson Hedge, set off to find Camp Jupiter, the camp for Roman half-bloods. When they arrive, Annabeth is introduced to some of the main characters from the second book: Frank, Hazel, Reyna, Octavian, and others. Percy Jackson is also there, and Annabeth is glad to see him.

They spend some time in Camp Jupiter, until somebody in the Argo II fires at the camp inhabitants. Octavian convinces the Romans that the Greeks are attacking them. The Romans start to attack the Greeks from the Argo II so the crew has to run.

The Seven half-bloods that will make up the team responding to the Prophecy of Seven have to flee. Here once again is that prophecy:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire, the world must fall,
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death

These are the Greek demigods in the group: Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon; Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena; Piper McLean, daughter of Aphrodite; and Leo Valdez, son of Hephaestus. These are the Roman demigods: Jason Grace, son of Jupiter; Hazel Levesque, daughter of Pluto; and finally, Frank Zhang, son of Mars. And now people at Camp Jupiter think that they are bad guys and follow in pursuit.

Soon the seven half-bloods figure out it was Leo who fired at the Camp, but he cannot explain why he did it. And Annabeth has her own secrets she is hiding from the others: she hasn’t told them about the mark of Athena yet.

Marshmallow is reading The Mark of Athena (Book 3 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow is reading The Mark of Athena (Book 3 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that this is a great book that really makes the reader want to keep reading till the end. Once you have read the first chapter you will have to read the whole book. 

The Mark Of Athena is a great book, but it is part of a series, and this one especially will make the reader have to read the fourth book, The House Of Hades. Also before reading this book, you should definitely have read, at least, the first two books in the series: The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune. I also think that you should read all of the previous books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (which is apparently abbreviated as PJO).

Most of the characters in this book have appeared in some of the earlier books, but we definitely learn a lot more about each of them, and we do meet some new characters (like Echo and Narcissus, for example). At the end of the book you are probably going to be so interested in the stories of these characters that you will just have to read the whole series.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates The Mark of Athena (Book 3 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Mark of Athena (Book 3 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan 100%.

Caramel reviews How to Catch a Monster by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton

Caramel has been reading all sorts of books these days, but picture books are always among his favorites. Today he reviews for the book bunnies blog a picture book by author-illustrators Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton: How to Catch a Monster. As usual, Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.

Caramel reviews How to Catch a Monster by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton.
Caramel reviews How to Catch a Monster by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, what made you want to review this book?

Caramel: I like it.

S: So can you tell us what it is about?

C: It’s about a little boy who is trying to catch the monster in his closet. And then they become friends.

S: That sounds scary first and then fun later.

C: Yep. It is. Apparently the monster practices how to roar!

S: Hmm, kind of like you practicing playing an instrument or singing, right?

C: Yep, I guess so.

S: What else do you think monsters do?

C: This one burps! And his burp smells like strawberries and lime. Which is pretty disgusting.

S: Why do you think so? I like strawberries, and mixed with lime, they might make a neat chewing gum flavor for instance.

C: Yes, but thinking of it as a burp smell makes it pretty disgusting.

S: I can see that. But I am guessing that the monster’s burp smells nice because the monster is actually not a bad monster. Right?

C: Yes. That’s right!

Caramel is reading How to Catch a Monster by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton. He is on the pages where the boy who is narrating the story is trying to catch the monster in his closet using his "super-sticky ninja-nabbing net".
Caramel is reading How to Catch a Monster by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton. He is on the pages where the boy who is narrating the story is trying to catch the monster in his closet using his “super-sticky ninja-nabbing net”.

S: Did you notice that on each two-page spread, there are four lines of text, all written in rhyme?

C: Let me see. Oh yes, that is true. There are rhyming words at the end of the second and fourth lines!

S: That would make it more fun to read out loud. Don’t you think?

C: Yes. “Yet” and “net”, “miss” and “this”, “sad” and “mad”, “mistake” and “awake”. You’re right! It would be more fun to read out loud!

S: So maybe when we are done with this review, we can read it out loud together. What do you think?

C: Okay, I like that idea!

S: So what three words would you use to describe this book?

C: “Fun”, “rhyming”, and “colorful”. Or maybe “imaginative”.

S: It is true this is a really imaginative book! A lot of little bunnies think there is a monster in their closet, or sometimes under their bed. And this book seems to play with that idea and make it fun.

C: Yep!

S: I know you close the door to your closet every night. Would you like to think that there is a monster like this one inside?

C: I’ve checked my closet. There is no such thing in mine.

S: But say there was? Would it be fun to have a playful monster like this in there?

C: It could be cool. This monster is fun. Hmm, maybe I should check my closet again.

S: Okay, we can go look together. After you wrap up this review by saying …

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews! And also there are no monsters in my closet!

Caramel has enjoyed reading How to Catch a Monster by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton, and recommends it to all little bunnies who love monsters and those others who are scared of the monster in their closets.
Caramel has enjoyed reading How to Catch a Monster by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton, and recommends it to all little bunnies who love monsters and those others who are scared of the monster in their closets.