Caramel reviews The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan

A couple weeks ago Caramel reviewed the graphic novel version of the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series: The Lightning Thief, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Jose Villarrubia, Orpheus Collar, and Chris Dickey. This week he talks about the second book in the series: The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey. As usual Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.

(Marshmallow has already reviewed the original; see here for her review.)

Caramel reviews The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey.
Caramel reviews The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, let us hear what you have to say about this book.

Caramel: If you already read the graphic novel version of The Lightning Thief, then this is a good book to read next.

S: So readers need to have read the first book of the series, right?

C: Yes.

S: Would it be enough to have read the original book or the graphic novel?

C: I think reading the originals first makes it easier to follow the graphic novels too.

S: But I am guessing that someone who only reads the graphic novel versions will still get a good story, is that correct?

C: Yes, definitely.

S: Then tell us that story a bit.

C: Percy Jackson, and his friend Annabeth (who eventually becomes his girlfriend) go on a quest that they are not even supposed to go on! Percy Jackson never listens to instructions.

S: Wait, so there is a quest and someone else is supposed to go ..

C: Yes, Clarisse La Rue, a daughter of war god Ares, is the one who is chosen but Percy and Annabeth don’t let go.

S: It is interesting how a lot of main characters in books don’t listen to instructions, right?

C: Yes, Harry Potter never listens to Professor Dumbledore, or Hermione, who is almost always right.

S: That’s true. But maybe through their mistakes we the readers learn some things, like listening to those who are older or wiser than us might actually be a good idea.

C: I agree with that! I do get mad at Harry or Percy when they don’t listen!

Caramel is reading The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey.
Caramel is reading The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey.

S: Okay, yes, let us get back to the book. What is this quest about?

C: They need to get the golden fleece. The golden fleece is a mythical object that heals anything.

S: Like that little scab on your knee?

C: Yes, I think if we had the golden fleece, my knee would get better much faster.

S: I think your body is doing really well healing on its own though? I think you will not even see it in a couple weeks.

C: I guess. But the golden fleece heals things much worse than a scarred knee. And it is hidden far far away.

S: And so our heroes have to face many new challenges to get to it, right?

C: Yes, and many new monsters!

S: Which monster was the most interesting one for you in this book?

C: I thought the monsters that wait in the sea of monsters to swallow up ships and heroes are the most interesting ones. Let me see… they are called Scylla and Charybdis. Together they destroy many ships.

S: And that is how in this story world we explain the Bermuda Triangle myth, right? Many people believed that in this region of the North Atlantic ocean, there was some mystery that led to disaster for many ships.

C: Yes. They talk about this in the book too, at least in the original book. And this is the book where Percy meets his half-brother Tyson, who is a cyclops.

S: So half-brother means Tyson is also a son of Poseidon, right?

C: Yep.

S: But aren’t we supposed to dislike and fear cyclops?

C: Some might not be nice, but Tyson is a really good cyclops, and he is a good brother to Percy.

S: I see. Okay, then, maybe we should tie this review up here before we give away more details. What three words would you use to describe this book Caramel?

C: Colorful, Greek mythology, and Percy Jackson.

S: Well, some of those are not descriptive words, but I’ll let it slide this time. What else do you want to say to our readers as we wrap things up?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey.
Caramel enjoyed reading The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey.

Marshmallow reviews Akira Yoshizawa: Japan’s Greatest Origami Master

This week Marshmallow shares her thoughts on Akira Yoshizawa: Japan’s Greatest Origami Master, a beautiful book with “Texts, Original Diagrams, and Models” by Akira Yoshizawa, a preface by Kiyo Yoshizawa, and an introduction by Robert J. Lang. Accompanying her in this review is her little friend for the day: Turtle.

Marshmallow reviews Akira Yoshizawa: Japan’s Greatest Origami Master, with text, diagrams, and models by Akira Yoshizawa. Accompanying her is her little friend, Turtle.
Marshmallow reviews Akira Yoshizawa: Japan’s Greatest Origami Master, with text, diagrams, and models by Akira Yoshizawa. Accompanying her is her little friend, Turtle.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books that teach you how to do stuff, or if you ever wanted to see really cool origami models of all sorts of animals and things, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): This book does not tell a story. It teaches the reader how to make the origami pieces in the book, though the origami in this book is not easy. This is not a book for people who don’t know what origami is. 

Here is Wikipedia’s definition of origami:

“Origami (折り紙, Japanese pronunciation: [oɾiɡami] or [oɾiꜜɡami], from ori meaning “folding”, and kami meaning “paper” (kami changes to gami due to rendaku)) is the art of paper folding, which is often associated with Japanese culture. In modern usage, the word “origami” is used as an inclusive term for all folding practices, regardless of their culture of origin.”

In this book, there is a detailed introduction written by an American origami expert, Robert Lang, where readers can learn about Akira Yoshizawa and his origami work. In the next few pages of the book, there are many pictures of Mr. Yoshizawa and his incredible origami works. Then most of the rest of the book is made up of Yoshizawa’s models of different types of animals and things. For example, there are models for making origami rabbits, sea turtles, small birds, wild geese, angel fish, butterflies, flying carpets, children from Snowland, lighthouses, seesaws, planes, and all sort of other neat things. There are step-by-step instructions and folding directions for each of these.

Marshmallow is pointing to the inside cover pages of Akira Yoshizawa: Japan’s Greatest Origami Master, with text, diagrams, and models by Akira Yoshizawa.
Marshmallow is pointing to the inside cover pages of Akira Yoshizawa: Japan’s Greatest Origami Master, with text, diagrams, and models by Akira Yoshizawa.

Marshmallow’s Review:  Reading Akiro Yoshizawa’s book, you can learn how to make some pretty complex pieces of origami. If you can’t or don’t want to try to make the origami, then you can just look at the pictures, which are in color and are very impressive. Mr. Yoshizawa’s origami animals and other origami are all very realistic.

Marshmallow and Turtle are looking at the table of contents of Akira Yoshizawa: Japan’s Greatest Origami Master, with text, diagrams, and models by Akira Yoshizawa.
Marshmallow and Turtle are looking at the table of contents of Akira Yoshizawa: Japan’s Greatest Origami Master, with text, diagrams, and models by Akira Yoshizawa.

If you want to make the origami in the book you need to have origami paper, but there is a way that you can make square origami paper with normal paper. Still, real origami paper might make your origami look prettier.

Some of the pieces of origami in this book require cutting or glue or multiple pieces of paper to finish. And almost all the models are pretty hard to do. I was able to make only a few of them, mostly the simpler ones, but still I enjoyed looking through the more complex ones, too.  

Marshmallow and Turtle are looking at the directions to make a sea turtle in Akira Yoshizawa: Japan’s Greatest Origami Master, with text, diagrams, and models by Akira Yoshizawa.
Marshmallow and Turtle are looking at the directions to make a sea turtle in Akira Yoshizawa: Japan’s Greatest Origami Master, with text, diagrams, and models by Akira Yoshizawa.

I think that this is a very good book for the whole bunny family; it can be read by many types of people. Younger bunnies will enjoy looking at the pictures, and older bunnies might want to try to make some of the origami pieces.

This book might also inspire the reader to go and try to learn more about origami, either about its history, or more about how to make more. (I know Caramel enjoys making samurai hats for example!) I really enjoyed trying to make the origami in this book, even when I couldn’t make it exactly the same as it was in the book.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Akira Yoshizawa: Japan’s Greatest Origami Master, with text, diagrams, and models by Akira Yoshizawa, 100%.
Marshmallow rates Akira Yoshizawa: Japan’s Greatest Origami Master, with text, diagrams, and models by Akira Yoshizawa, 100%.

Caramel reviews The Rescue Rabbits by Eric Seltzer

This week Caramel wanted to talk about a fun picture book written by Eric Seltzer and illustrated by Roland Garrigue: The Rescue Rabbits. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Rescue Rabbits written by Eric Seltzer and illustrated by Roland Garrigue.
Caramel reviews The Rescue Rabbits written by Eric Seltzer and illustrated by Roland Garrigue.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, you found a book about bunnies!

Caramel: Yes! This is a cool book about rabbits that can talk.

S: You and I are talking!

C: Yes, that’s true. But other animals talk in this book too. Like hippos, elephants, a kangaroo. A lot of animals.

S: And they all understand one another, right?

C: Apparently.

S: That sounds so neat! Wouldn’t it be great if we could talk with all other animals?

C: Yep.

S: So tell me what this book is about.

C: There are four rabbits that do stuff. Their names are Ace, Chip, Dot, and Spot. And they help other animals. An elephant and fifty sick hippos and a duck family, a kangaroo…

S: Okay, I get the point. So the rabbits are like a squad …

C: … Like PAW Patrol!

S: Oh yes! That sounds just about right! The PAW Patrol puppies also try and help others in trouble, right?

C: I don’t exactly remember the show really, but yes, I think that is what they do. Can we watch some episodes at some point? Maybe I can remember–hint hint.

S: Maybe. But let us get back to the book.

Caramel is reading The Rescue Rabbits written by Eric Seltzer and illustrated by Roland Garrigue.  On this page there is a rhino queen, Queen Rex, and she is a bit too big for the helicopter the Rescue Rabbits are riding.
Caramel is reading The Rescue Rabbits written by Eric Seltzer and illustrated by Roland Garrigue. On this page there is a rhino queen, Queen Rex, and she is a bit too big for the helicopter the Rescue Rabbits are riding.

S: So tell me more about the book. What did you think of the drawings?

C: They’re pretty good. They’re very colorful. They are not really exactly realistic but I still like them.

S: Well, helicopter flying rabbits is also not very realistic. This is obviously fiction, right?

C: Yep. And they are all wearing clothes. There is a pelican wearing a hat, a tortoise wearing a cap, and a warthog and an elephant wearing suits. And there is a baby rhino in overalls.

S: And the Rescue Rabbits are also wearing clothes, right?

C: Yep. We are wearing clothes. Normal bunnies don’t wear clothes.

S: That’s right, but a lot of our readers probably do wear clothes. So maybe that is why the Rescue Rabbits are wearing clothes too.

C: Yes! Maybe so the readers don’t feel weird reading about naked animals.

S: And so that they feel like the animals are more like humans.

C: Yes. But not too much like humans, because that apparently freaks out humans. You told me about the uncanny valley before.

S: Yes, you have a good memory. Do you remember what that was exactly?

C: Not quite. What was it?

S: It is when things look too like humans, humans get scared. Here is a neat article about it: What is the Uncanny Valley? It is a concept first thought of in the field of robotics, when people were beginning to think of making robots look more and more like humans.

C: In Star Trek Voyager, there is a holographic life form and he looks exactly like humans. And humans are sometimes scared of him.

S: Yes, kind of like that. But let us get back to the book. What three words would you use to describe this book?

C: Colorful, happy, adventurous.

S: Yes, I like those words and I think they fit this book. So it is now time to wrap up this review. What do you want to tell our readers Caramel?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel has enjoyed reading The Rescue Rabbits written by Eric Seltzer and illustrated by Roland Garrigue.
Caramel has enjoyed reading The Rescue Rabbits written by Eric Seltzer and illustrated by Roland Garrigue.

Marshmallow reviews The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan

Marshmallow has already reviewed the first four books of Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series: The Lost HeroThe Son of NeptuneThe Mark of Athena and The House of Hades. Today she shares her thoughts on the fifth and last book: The Blood of Olympus.

Marshmallow reviews The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow reviews The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about mythology or if you have enjoyed reading other books by Rick Riordan, then this might be the book for you. (But again, if you have not read the first four books of the Heroes of Olympus series, you will not get too much out of it.)

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): After spying on their enemies, Jason, Piper, and Annabeth summon Juno, who tells them that they must find Nike, and then they must find Artemis and Apollo, both of whom were banished by Zeus. The crew of Argo II finds the place that Nike should be, and sends Frank, Hazel, Leo, and Percy, since their godly parents don’t have any rivalries. (Nike is all about victory, and she gives off an aura of fighting that leads to fights among people with any underlying conflicts between them. If they had sent Annabeth, Athena’s daughter, with Percy, Poseidon’s son, the two might have fought and killed each other since their parents are rivals, even though Percy and Annabeth are friends.)

Nike tells the four friends that one of them will die and that they will need the Physician’s Cure to survive. They take Nike hostage to stop her from giving off her war aura, which is making the Romans and Greeks fight. They start to look for the ingredients needed for the Physician’s Cure.

Meanwhile, Leo is starting to make a plan to defeat Gaea. Remember the 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.

Leo is sure that he is the one meant to die, since Argo II’s crew thinks that the “To storm or fire” line in the prophecy means that one of the storm or fire people will die. Jason, being the son of Jupiter, is storm and Leo, who as a child of Hephaestus, has the power to create fire, is fire. But Leo is the only one that overlaps both of the groups, storm or fire, and the people who captured Nike.

Meanwhile, Reyna, Nico, and Coach Hedge are trying to get Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood as a peace offering to stop a full-on war between the Romans and the Greeks.

Marshmallow is reading The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.
Marshmallow is reading The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a great book to finish a great series. And I think that this is one of the best books in the series. Rick Riordan satisfyingly ties up the story about Greek and Roman gods and goddesses.

An interesting thing about this series is that the story in each book is told from more than one person’s point of view. And sometimes the narrators following one another are not in the same place, so we switch from one scene to another when we change narrators. For example, in the chapters told by Reyna, my favorite character, she is not in the same place as the crew of Argo II because she is with Nico and Coach Hedge, trying to bring Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood.

The narrators in The Blood of Olympus are Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, Jason Grace, Piper McLean, Leo Valdez, Frank Zhang, Hazel Levesque, Nico di Angelo, and finally Reyna Avila Ramirez-Arellano. So we do read the point of view of each of the seven belonging to the prophecy but also two other characters, Nico and Reyna, who are not part of the seven but turn out to be very important to the quest and the story.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Blood of Olympus (Book 5 of the Heroes of Olympus Series) by Rick Riordan 100%.