Caramel reviews How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Caramel has been reviewing the books in Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon series (2001-2015) one by one. He last reviewed the tenth book in the series: How to Seize A Dragon’s Heart. Just recently he obtained copies of the last two books in the series and is getting ready to review them for the book bunnies blog. But in the meantime, he wanted to talk about a little book that Cressida Cowell wrote (or apparently, translated from the Dragonese) in 2006: How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell.
Caramel reviews How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell.

Sprinkles: Okay, Caramel, so we just read this book together, and I think at 74 pages, this is the shortest book from Cowell about Hiccup and Toothless, no?

Caramel: Yup, at least the shortest I’ve read.

S: True, there might be other books, possibly for younger folks, that might be shorter. But this is definitely shorter than the ten books you read from the How To Train Your Dragon series, right?

C: Yes. And it is not quite a part of the series really.

S: So tell our readers what this book is then.

C: This is a story told by Toothless. All the ten books I read from the series are told from Hiccup’s point of view. But this time, Toothless is telling us a story.

S: Yes, and it is a pretty neat story I thought.

C: Yes. In this story, Hiccup and Fishlegs are still pretty young and so is Toothless. The young Vikings are in a hunting competition, and they are supposed to have their dragons hunt fish for them.

S: And then what happens?

C: Toothless eats a ton of glow-worms, those are nanodragons that the hunting dragons like to eat. And don’t worry, they are not being cannibals. Nanodragons are a different species, very small and apparently delicious according to Toothless. So Toothless says it is like humans eating chicken, not like humans eating each other.

S: I see.

C: Toothless is too full to hunt but then the glow-worms in his tummy light up and help them catch lots of fish. And then …

S: Wait, don’t give away all of the details!

C: Okay, I won’t. I will stop here. I will just say that the rest of the adventure involves a DarkBreather, a horrible terrible sea monster with a huge mouth.

S: Okay, I think that is a good clue to share with our readers, just enough to whet their appetites.

C: But I do have to say DarkBreathers are scary and they drink BLOOD

S: Wow! Okay, I think we should not scare our readers too much!

C: Oh, they should not worry. It is not a scary story really, but really fun to read.

S: So quite a typical story from the How to Train Your Dragon world, right?

C: Yes, but a new one, it was not one that we had read earlier from Hiccup’s view.

Caramel is reading How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell.
Caramel is reading How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell.

S: Okay, so then let us think about the book more generally. What three words would you use to describe it?

C: Funny, adventurous, and interesting characters.

S: Well, we knew the characters from the other books already, no?

C: Yes, but hearing about them from Toothless is fun.

S: I see. And the dragons are still much smaller than the ones in the movies and the animated series, right? They are small, like big hunting birds?

C: Yes. Some are the size of an eagle or a hawk. The books are very different.

S: But I do know you like those series a lot too.

C: Yes. And I really really like one of the songs from them. Can we put a video of “This is Berk” here?

S: I think we can. Let me see. For some reason I am not able to embed the video (even though we can embed other YouTube videos to our posts), but here is a link for folks to listen if they want to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNPIih4X7SA And this is the link we have used more often: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWr0hSKLcXY Unfortunately, both have some ads at the beginning.

C: No worries. I love this music!

S: I know. Maybe you think about flying on your own dragon?

C: Sometimes.

S: A little bunny on a dragon might not be too safe.

C: Meh, nothing is safe in this world.

S: A pretty insightful statement from a little bunny, but as your mommy bunny, I am not sure I like that sentiment coming from you.

C: Aw come on. You know I am always careful!

S: I know. I know you would definitely be careful if you were flying a dragon!

C: I wish! But can we at least put a trailer of one of the movies?

S: Okay, let us try.

The trailer for How to Train Your Dragon (2010) from YouTube.

C: The movies are really fun too but I also really like the books.

S: I know! Okay, I think this is a good time to wrap up our review. I know our readers will be looking forward to your reviews of the last two books from the series.

C: Yes, they are coming! Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel loved reading How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell, and is looking forward to finishing up the original series soon.
Caramel loved reading How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell, and is looking forward to finishing up the original series soon.

Marshmallow reviews The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

This week Marshmallow reviews The Girl Who Drank the Moon, the 2016 novel by Kelly Barnhill. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Marshmallow reviews The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.
Marshmallow reviews The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

Sprinkles: This looks like an interesting book Marshmallow. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Marshmallow: This book is about a girl named Luna and a witch named Xan. Luna comes from a village that sacrifices one baby per year. The baby is left in the woods, supposedly to be taken by an evil witch who lives in the woods. But it turns out that the witch is actually Xan, and she is very kind-hearted. She travels every year to pick up the sacrificed baby, and takes it to a loving family in a different village. The children brought by Xan are called Star Children in that village because Xan feeds them starlight before their journey through the forest.

However, one year, Xan accidentally feeds one of the children moonlight. Moonlight is more powerful than starlight and it enmagicks her. In other words, she ends up with extraordinary magical powers. Xan decides to name her Luna and raise her as her own.

S: That is a very interesting premise. And I can see why the book is titled The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I’m guessing that is Luna. So does Luna know any of this?

M: Not really. Not for a long time. And she cannot hear the word “magic”.

S: That is weird. So the book is about Luna and Xan and their adventures?

M: No. Not quite. There are multiple stories that are going on at the same time. There is a guy who is determined to kill Xan for example, but he is a good person, he just wants to protect his own child. And eventually we see Luna’s real mom show up. Lots of things are happening at the same time, and Luna is trying to figure out how to use her magic.

S: Hmm, that sounds intriguing. I might want to read it too some day.

M: Yes, I think you should. It is about family, love, and who becomes your family. Luna’s family is made up of a dragon and a bog monster besides the witch Xan, and eventually she is reunited with her birth mom too. And there is a surprising twist towards the end, but I am not going to spoil things.

S: Hmm, I guess I will just have to read the book to find out for myself.

Marshmallow is reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.
Marshmallow is reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

S: So apparently there was a prequel published right around the time the book came out. What did you think of that?

M: I thought it was interesting to get some backstory on one of the characters. We should probably put links to them in our review.

S: Okay, here is the link to the first part of the prequel, and here is the second part. We should warn our readers that there are lots of popups and ads on the linked pages but the story seems to be worth it.

M: I’d say so.

S: Did this book remind you of any other books you have read or reviewed before?

M: No, I think it was quite unique. I’d say it is really a beautiful story.

S: What you did tell me so far reminded me of a couple of the stories in Soman Chaimani’s Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales. Or even the beginning of the School for Good and Evil stories. There, too, children are taken to save their villages.

M: Yes, I can see what you mean. And I do love the School for Good and Evil books. But I view this book as something quite different.

S: Okay, it is a book of its own, deserves its own place among your favorites?

M: I’d say so. I will definitely reread it at least once more.

S: So then would you be rating it 100%?

M: Yes!

S: And that is a good place to wrap up this review then. I might just grab the book and start reading it right away.

M: You do that! And our readers, they should stay tuned for more amazing reviews from the book bunnies!

Marshmallow rates The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill 100%.

Caramel reviews The Titan’s Curse: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan

Last year Caramel began to review the graphic novel versions of the Rick Riordan series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. You can check out his reviews of The Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters. Today he finally shares with us his thoughts on the third book of the series: The Titan’s Curse. As usual, Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.

(You can read Marshmallow’s review of the original book here.)

Caramel reviews The Titan's Curse: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Greg Guilhaumond, and Chris Dickey.
Caramel reviews The Titan’s Curse: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Greg Guilhaumond, and Chris Dickey.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, you are back to Percy Jackson and the Olympians!

Caramel: Yeah.

S: So it has been a while since you read the last book. So tell us a bit about what the main story line is.

C: Percy Jackson is a demigod, that means his dad is one of the Olympian gods. His is Poseidon, the god of the sea. In these books, he is trying to help the other demigods beat monsters who are trying to bring down the Olympian gods and take over the world.

S: Okay, so this sets the stage for book 3. What happens in this book?

C: Percy and his friends try to save two young demigods, Bianca and Nico, but they are stopped by monsters. Turns out the school principal is a monster, a manticore.

S: Hmm, that reminded me of the book you reviewed way back where the school teacher was a robot.

C: Yes, except robots and manticores are different. Manticores are monsters and robots are robots. They can be friendly. And in the end, in that book, the teacher is probably not a robot. But here the principal is really a monster who is trying to deliver the two demigods to the General. And who the general is is a secret.

S: Alright. That sounds dangerous.

C: Yes. As usual Percy gets into a lot of troubles, small and large.

Caramel is reading The Titan's Curse: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Greg Guilhaumond, and Chris Dickey.
Caramel is reading The Titan’s Curse: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Greg Guilhaumond, and Chris Dickey.

S: So was this book fun to read?

C: Yes.

S: You also read the original book. What did you think of the graphic novel in relation to that?

C: As always, the graphic novel is a bit different. But not too much. Let me do a scene-by-scene comparison…

S: Really?

C: No.

S: Okay, that sounds more like you.

C: I’ll still say that both books are fun to read.

S: What did you think of the illustrations in this version?

C: They are great!

S: To me they look a bit dark.

C: A lot is happening in the dark, at night, or inside caverns.

S: So I see, it makes sense for it to be dark.

C: Yep.

S: So what do you think of the version of Percy in the graphic novels? Does he look like the Percy you imagined him to be when you were first reading the books?

C: Not particularly.

S: How about the Percy in the movies?

C: Nope. My Percy is the one on the cover of the original books that Marshmallow reviewed.

S: It is interesting how the first images we build for characters stay with us. Right?

C: Yep.

S: But if you had seen the movie before the books, it might have been different. I bet when you read Harry Potter, you are seeing the movie Potter, no?

C: Yep. That is true.

S: I find that fascinating. Anyways, before we wrap up, tell me three words you’d use to describe the book.

C: Exciting, action-filled, very close to the original books.

S: Thanks. So what do you want to tell our readers as we finalize this review?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Titan’s Curse: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Greg Guilhaumond, and Chris Dickey, and is looking forward to reading the next books in the series in this format.

Marshmallow reviews The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf

Today Marshmallow reviews The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf, a book that combines the joys of cooking and science experiments.

Marshmallow reviews The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf.
Marshmallow reviews The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about cooking and science, then this might be the book for you. In fact if you like to play with food, this might be a good book to check out!

Marshmallow’s Summary: The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids has twenty five “edible experiments” you can cook, from cheese fondue to chocolate chip cookies. Some other recipes include rainbow pasta, caramel candy, banana bread, smoothie and acidic fruit. Each of the recipes has a note from the author, Kate Biberdorf, a messiness level, and of course, ingredients and instructions. Some of the recipes also have experiments you can conduct with the food, and some have explanations for the chemistry in the foods.

Marshmallow is reading about banana bread in The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf.
Marshmallow is reading about banana bread in The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf.

For example in the chapter on banana bread, we are given a recipe and really delicious looking pictures of banana bread, but also we are provided with directions on a neat experiment on ripening bananas. The main question is: How do we speed up the ripening of bananas? There are three possible ways and you are supposed to try them all to see which works best. And in the end, with the ripened bananas, you make the banana bread and eat it! The chapter contains information about bananas and the chemical process of ripening fruit.

The author Kate Bibendorf is a chemist by training, and she is a professor of chemistry at the University of Texas Austin. She also has written a series of fiction books about a character named Kate the Chemist, but I have not read those books yet.

Marshmallow is reading about the acidity of different fruits in The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf.
Marshmallow is reading about the acidity of different fruits in The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that this a good book that can help young bunnies and their parents have fun in the kitchen. The recipes are simple and creative. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but I think I will soon. In fact I could like to try the banana bread recipe, but our bananas are already ripe, so we could not do the experiments. Hmm…

There are a lot of pictures in this book. Most of them display how to make the foods, and others show the author with the finished product. They are all very colorful, and the book is all very cheerful overall. The author is always laughing or smiling, and the food looks delicious!

This book is appropriate for all ages because young bunnies can do all of the experiments with a parent. The experiments might be more fun for ages 6 and up. I am sure all ages will enjoy eating the final products though.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids by Kate Biberdorf 95%.