Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel by Rey Terciero

Having already reviewed the original (unabridged) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Marshmallow recently read a modern retelling of the story: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo. Below she shares her thoughts on this book.

Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo.
Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women and enjoy graphic novels like Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are four siblings who live in Brooklyn, New York. Their father is away in the Middle East fighting in the army. Meg wants to marry rich, Jo wants to write and be left alone, Beth wants to be a songwriter, and finally Amy wants to be an artist. They all have problems in their lives. Amy is bullied in school, Beth has health issues, Jo has trouble dealing with her “secret”, and Meg doesn’t like being poor and wants to have nice things. They are also all very worried that their father will not come back from the war. 

Marshmallow’s Review: This modern retelling of the classic Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a great graphic novel. I think the author Rey Terciero and the illustrator Bre Indigo did a great job of remaking Little Women for today’s readers.

This book shows each of the original characters and their characteristics very well, The pictures are also all very well created. They depict the feelings of the characters very well. 

It is interesting how the author made this a modern retelling. Almost all of the events that happen in the original happen in the retelling except that they are modernized. As a result, this is not as old-fashioned as the original book. In the original, the sisters all get married (except for Beth, who dies). In this version nobody gets married because they are all too young (and nobody dies, either).

I think that this version of the story is a lot more relatable since the sisters are all realistic. All of the girls suffer from different problems, and on top of all that, they all worry for their father who is in the Middle East fighting in a war.

I also recently watched the movie remake of Little Women. Here is the official trailer, which made me really want to see the movie:

The official movie trailer of Little Women (2019).

The movie stuck very close to the original and so it was similar to the book but not precisely. But in the graphic novel, I liked how Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are all very different. If you read the original or watched the movie, you can tell that the characters in the graphic novel are the same characters, but they encounter many different problems and they are living in today’s world. They also all change a lot from how they were in the beginning, so the story is interesting.

This is a very good book for eight to seventeen year olds. It might be slightly confusing if you haven’t read the original, but you can read it and still get much out of it in any case.   

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo 100%.
Marshmallow rates Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo 100%.

Caramel reviews The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

Caramel often likes to reread books he used to read when he was a much younger bunny. Today he reviews one of his very old favorites: The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper (aka Arnold Munk), with new art by Loren Long. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, with new art by Loren Long.
Caramel reviews The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, with new art by Loren Long.

Sprinkles: I haven’t seen you with that book for a while Caramel.

Caramel: True. I haven’t read it in a long time. But this is a good book if you like helping and trains.

S: And you do like both helping and trains! No wonder you like this book!

C: It is an awesome book. I love the pictures and the whole story!

S: So what is it about?

C: It’s about a train full of things for good boys and girls and it’s going over a mountain. But its engine breaks.

S: Oh, that is sad. Then what happens?

C: All the toys are very sad. They want to get to the good boys and girls and make them happy.

S: Then what happens?

C: A lot of trains pass by and they don’t help the train. Until this little blue engine comes along, and her name is really Little Blue Engine!

Caramel is reading The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, with new art by Loren Long.
Caramel is reading The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, with new art by Loren Long.

“I’m not very big,” said the Little Blue Engine. “They use me only for switching trains in the yard. I have never been over the mountain.”
“But we must get over the mountain before the children awake,” said all the dolls and the toys.
The very little engine looked up and saw the tears in the dolls’ eyes. And she thought of the good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain who would not have any toys or good food unless she helped.
Then she said, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” And she hitched herself to the little train.

S: Yes, this book is a classic, first published in 1930, and the part where she says “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” is really famous. Why do you think so Caramel?

C: Because it makes people want to help other people.

S: Yes, even though the Little Blue Engine is small and inexperienced, she decides to try and help. That is quite nice. And she can help because she thinks she can. So it’s also about …

C: … believing in yourself! And this is probably the eleventh time I read this book!

S: I think you and I together read this about that many times Caramel!

C: Hmm, I guess I must have read it a lot more times then.

S: Would you recommend it to other little bunnies and their big people?

C: Yes I would. It is a fun book to read with your big people. In our case it is you of course Sprinkles.

S: I know. I have always loved reading this book to you. I liked repeating “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

C: “Puff Puff Chug Chug!” It sounds like the train chugging along.

S: Yes, it really does sound like a train, doesn’t it?

C: Yes! And I love trains! But this is all for this week! Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel recommends The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, with new art by Loren Long, to all little bunnies and their big people.
Caramel recommends The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, with new art by Loren Long, to all little bunnies and their big people.

Marshmallow reviews Refugee by Alan Gratz

Marshmallow has recently read Alan Gratz’ novel Refugee and below shares her thoughts on this moving fictional account of three refugee children across recent history. As Marshmallow also points out below, the stories are harsh and harrowing. The publisher recommends the book for 8 and up, so does Marshmallow.

Marshmallow reviews Refugee by Alan Gratz.
Marshmallow reviews Refugee by Alan Gratz.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like realistic and historical fiction, then this might be the book for you. (Warning: This is a very harsh book and should not be read by readers under 9.)

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers):

“JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany…”
“ISABEL is a Cuban girl living in 1994…”
“MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015…”

All of these kids are relatable and normal. Their experiences, on the other hand, are something that nobody should have to face. 

Josef’s father is taken away to a concentration camp called Dachau. When he comes back, his family is overjoyed but when they see him they realize that he is mentally disturbed. The family then receive news that they have to leave Germany in fourteen days. 

Isabel lives on the streets, and when her father gets involved in a protest, he is told to leave. 

Mahmoud is a present-day Syrian boy and he learns that to stay away from bullies you have to be “invisible”. Then his house is bombed and it becomes clear that he has to leave.   

Marshmallow is looking up from reading Refugee by Alan Gratz.
Marshmallow is looking up from reading Refugee by Alan Gratz.

These three different families set out on the same mission: make it to a safe place. This for Josef is Cuba, for Isabel it is el norte, the US, and for Mahmoud it is Germany. Along the way, all lose someone that they care about, whether physically or mentally. 

Josef’s family is breaking up and his father is scared. They board a ship called The St. Louis in order to escape the Nazis, but eventually Josef’s father tries to commit suicide by jumping off the side of the ship.

“Josef’s father was gone. His mother was unconscious. His little sister was all by herself. And they would never let Josef’s family into Cuba now, not after his father had gone mad. Josef and his family would be sent back to Germany. Back to the Nazis.
“Josef’s world was falling apart, and he didn’t see any way to put it back together again.”

Sadly, he never does. Josef never makes it to Cuba and only two members of the Landau family survive. 

Isabel tries to escape from Cuba with her family and her friend’s family. They build a boat to escape but soon they face the fury of the ocean. 

Mahmoud and his family start the long journey to Germany and lose each other in order to save each other. 

“All three kids go on a harrowing journeys. All face unimaginable dangers. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.”

The publisher’s video about the book Refugee by Alan Gratz.

Marshmallow’s review: This is a very good book. It might be the most moving book I have ever read, but it should definitely not be read by younger readers. It has stories about the Nazis and other terrible things that children should not learn about until a little bit older. Though Josef’s story is fictional, it is very similar to what happened to a lot of Jewish families. Isabel has terrible losses and she faces many dangers. Mahmoud’s family is eventually drained of joy in the journey to Germany and to safety.

Marshmallow’s rating: 100% (but this is not happy reading…)

Marshmallow rates Refugee by Alan Gratz 100% (though it is definitely not a happy book).
Marshmallow rates Refugee by Alan Gratz 100% (though it is definitely not a happy book).

Caramel reviews The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable by Aaron Blabey (Bad Guys #2)

Caramel continues to be very taken by the Bad Guys series of Aaron Blabey. Last week he reviewed the first book: Bad Guys. And today he is reviewing the second book in the series: The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions, as usual.

Caramel reviews The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable by Aaron Blabey (Bad Guys #2).
Caramel reviews The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable by Aaron Blabey (Bad Guys #2).

Sprinkles: So Caramel, how do you want to start this review today?

Caramel: If you like funny books, and if you like books with evil guinea pigs who are mad scientist billionaires, this might be the book for you!

S: Wow, Caramel, let us not give away so much all at once! Yes, this is a funny book. It follows the adventures of the same four “bad guys” from the first book, right?

C: Yep. There is one more new character though. Actually there are two new characters.

S: Tell me about the one who joins the team.

C: He is a tarantula named Legs. People think he is evil.

S: Just like the other four friends, right?

C: Yep, pretty much.

S: So then there is a wolf, a piranha, a snake, and a shark. and now a spider, and they all want to convince people that they are actually good.

C: Yes. They try to save the world.

S: Wait, that is not yet in this book!

C: Sorry, yes, in this book they try to save chickens. And they succeed.

S: What do you mean by “save chickens”?

C: They save them from an evil chicken farm. A very high-tech place. And that is why they need Legs.

Caramel is reading The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable by Aaron Blabey.
Caramel is reading The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable by Aaron Blabey.

S: So that sums up the story line. Let us talk a bit more about the book in general. So do you think this one is as funny as the first book?

C: Yes, it is even funnier in fact. I love these guys! They are so funny! In the next book …

S: We’re not going there yet Caramel! We can talk about the third book next time if you want. But for now, let us focus on this one…

C: Awww. That’s hard! And very unfortunate. I want to talk about all the books at the same time!

S: Well, this is your review of the second book. Can you tell us a bit more about why you like this book?

C: The book ends with something like a cliffhanger. There is a mysterious ninja, and a very evil guinea pig, and you want to know what will happen next.

S: You already read the next book, right?

C: Yes. Did you read the next book Sprinkles?

S: No, not yet. But I am curious.

C: The next book is awesome too! It’s even better than this one.

S: Ok, then, I guess I just have to read it, right?

C: Yes. And we just might need to review it too!

S: That sounds great!

C: Can I rate this book, like Marshmallow does all the time?

S: Sure.

C: Yay! I rate this book 99%!

S: Hmm, why is it not 100%?

C: Because the next book is even better!

S: I see! Ok, let us wrap things up.

C: Yes. Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel rates The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable by Aaron Blabey 99%.
Caramel rates The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable by Aaron Blabey 99%.