Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Marshmallow enjoys reading graphic novels now and then, and she has reviewed some of them for the book bunnies blog. See, for example, her reviews of Lucy and Andy Neanderthal and Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown, and her review of They Called Us Enemy by George Takei. This week she reviews one of her recent favorites: Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like graphic novels or if you enjoyed Raina Telgemeier’s other books, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers):  Cat’s sister, Maya, has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that makes it hard to breathe. Cat and her family move to a place called Bahiá de la Luna. Their parents think that Bahiá de la Luna will benefit Maya from the salty air, but unfortunately, Cat doesn’t like their new home. Still, since she wants her sister to get better, she tries to adapt.

One day their neighbor tells them that there are ghosts in the area. Cat doesn’t believe him but she soon learns that the neighbor was telling the truth. Maya is determined to meet a ghost and find out what dying is like.

“As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.”

Marshmallow is reading Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow is reading Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is an interesting book. The author, Raina Telgemeier, creates intriguing characters like Maya. Maya sometimes makes you think that she is not aware that she can die but then you realize that she realizes more than you think she does. Not only are the characters interesting, but the characters are also very relatable. Cat is someone you can relate to. Cat is infuriated when someone accidentally hurts Maya, and the drawings show her emotions very well. More generally the author does a great job drawing images that show the emotions of each character very clearly.

Cat is very protective of Maya. She is probably always very stressed because she keeps worrying that her sister Maya might die if she does something that she is not supposed to do.

My favorite character in Ghosts is Maya because she is so cheerful and she tries not to let her disease bring her down.

The setting, Bahiá de la Luna, is sort of creepy. As it says in the book, it has a “laid-back Halloween vibe”.  

This book displays a very different style of writing than Raina Telgemeier’s usual style. Her other books do not often deal with supernatural events.

This graphic novel is probably best for readers of ages eight to fifteen.

“Raina Telgemeier has masterfully created a moving and insightful story about the power of family and friendship, and how it gives the courage to do what we never thought possible.”

This quote on the back of the book describes the book in a nutshell. In this book you learn about Mexican traditions like an ofrenda, an altar for the dead, or The Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos). 

(Ghosts is dedicated to Sabrina Castello Collado, Raina’s cousin who died at age thirteen.)

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier 95%.
Marshmallow rates Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier 95%.

Caramel reviews Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

Caramel has recently been obsessed with the Bad Guys series of Aaron Blabey, and wanted his first review of the year to be a review of the first book: Bad Guys. As always Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey.
Caramel reviews Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey.

Sprinkles: Caramel, I’ve seen you really enjoying reading these Bad Guys books lately. Can you tell us a bit what they are about?

Caramel: They are about bad guys, bad animals who want to be good. Actually, only the wolf wants to be good, but the rest are not that interested.

S: So let me see. There is a wolf, and he is always the bad guy in fairy tales and such, and he wants to change his image. And the other animals… who are the other bad guys?

C: There is a shark, there is a piranha, and some people think he is a sardine, even a vampire sardine!

S: Well, the piranha does have sharp teeth!

C: Yeah! And it doesn’t really look like a sardine. Anyways, there is also a snake.

S: Hm, so these four are often seen as villains in stories. and they want to change that, right?

C: Yep. Well, not all of them, only the wolf wants to in the beginning, but then all of them kind of like the idea. Here is a video which explains the story:

Here is a video summary of Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey.

S: I agree that this is an interesting premise for a book. The bad guys want to be good, but the world is not yet quite ready for them.

C: Yes. So they try to save a cat stuck on a tree. They try to tell the cat to jump down and they will catch it. But the cat is scared of them. And so when the wolf tries to catch the cat, the cat scratches him real badly.

Caramel is looking at the page of Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey, where the not-so-bad bad guys are trying to save a kitty.
Caramel is looking at the page of Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey, where the not-so-bad bad guys are trying to save a kitty.

S: That is kind of sad though, no? They are trying to do something good but nobody expects good things from them. Everyone is afraid of them. Isn’t that sad?

C: Yes.

S: It is difficult to change people’s opinions once they make their minds up about us. So that could be one message of the book. What could be another?

C: I don’t know.

S: Hmm. I was thinking that there is also a more optimistic message. That even if people think you are a bad guy, you could always try to be good.

C: Yes, I agree. You can always try to be good.

S: But I think these messages are not quite the main reason why you enjoyed this book. Tell me what you liked most.

C: It’s extremely funny! The pictures are funny, and the bad guys get into funny situations.

S: So would you recommend this book to other young bunnies like yourself?

C: Yep! And I want to read all the other books in this series!

S: I see a few more reviews of bad guys in our future…

C: YES! But for now, stay tuned for more book bunny adventures!

Caramel has enjoyed reading Aaron Blabey's Bad Guys so much that he now wants to read all the other books in the series.
Caramel has enjoyed reading Aaron Blabey’s Bad Guys so much that he now wants to read all the other books in the series.

Marshmallow reviews Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

After a one-month break, the book bunnies have a lot of books to write about! Marshmallow starts 2020 off with her thoughts on Belly Up, the first novel in Stuart Gibbs’ Teddy Fitzroy / FunJungle series.

Marshmallow reviews Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow reviews Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like mysteries, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Teddy Fitzroy lives in the largest zoo in the world, FunJungle, where you could watch sharks in Shark Odyssey, experience what being on a Safari is like, or see what most of the visitors come for: Henry Hippo, the most celebrated hippo in the world. That is, until he dies.

The vet of FunJungle figures out that Henry was actually murdered. Teddy sneaks into the autopsy and learns that Henry might have died from peritonitis, a disease that makes holes in the stomach, but the vet, Doc, says that there were too many holes for it to be natural. The people who run FunJungle cover it up and say that Henry Hippo died of natural causes. Teddy realizes that no one is doing anything and that he has to solve the mystery himself. 

“As Teddy searches through all the clues and asks too many questions, it becomes clear that he too might end up belly up.”

Marshmallow is reading Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow is reading Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Review: This book is a great book! You will not be able to put it down once you start reading.

The story is so mysterious that you cannot figure out who killed Henry even if you are Sherlock Holmes. The book supplies you with so many suspects that you cannot guess who did it. Unlike many mystery books, Belly Up supplies you with many suspicious characters. The real murderer turns out to be someone who you would never suspect even though the clues were all there under your nose (but they were all just things that seemed unimportant).

This is one of the best mystery books that I have read and I expect that I will reread it over and over again.

I have to admit that Belly Up is slightly confusing and requires holding onto clues that add up to the solution, so it is probably great for ages 8-15. it might confuse readers under 7. There are some curse words but not any very serious ones and there are only a few in a 286-page book.

Marshmallow thinks that Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs is one of the best mystery books that she has ever read.
Marshmallow thinks that Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs is one of the best mystery books that she has ever read.

Stuart Gibbs creates great characters, and his characters show us what other peoples’ lives are like. For example, Summer McCracken, the daughter of the billionaire J.J. McCracken, lives a luxurious but caged existence.

I think that this is a book that can also be enjoyed by adults, too, (and I am trying to get Sprinkles to read it soon!) but I believe it is better for children. Belly Up has humor, animal facts that Teddy uses to solve the mystery, adventure, and mystery.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs 100%.
Marshmallow rates Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs 100%.

Marshmallow reviews The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

Marshmallow has recently finished reading The Confidence Code for Girls, by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Soon after, Sprinkles read The Confidence Code by the same authors. Below Marshmallow shares her thoughts on the former, while Sprinkles asks questions, takes notes, and occasionally adds some thoughts inspired by her reading of the latter.

This is our last review for 2019 and for a few weeks after. The book bunnies wish everyone a happy new year. We will be back with more reviews in February 2020.

Marshmallow reviews The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.
Marshmallow reviews The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.

Sprinkles: So, Marshmallow, what do you want to tell us about this book?

Marshmallow: This is a good book that inspires girls to be confident about themselves. 

S: How does it do that?

M: It inspires girls to be confident by making an easy “Confidence Code”, a three-step code that is the key to believing in yourself. 

S: So, what are the three steps? 

M: You need to read the book!

S: Well, I read the adult version. As far as I recall, the three main recommendations are: Think less, act more, and make mistakes. 

M: You can’t give away everything!

S: I’m not really giving everything away though. Everyone says you need to make mistakes. Everyone says you should not worry too much about what others think. But I thought this book explained really clearly why these are all very good advice. But also, the book doesn’t really feel like an advice book, right? 

M: No, it doesn’t. It has quizzes and stories and comic strips.

S: That is the one for girls. The grownup one doesn’t have the quizzes and the comics, but actually it too has a lot of stories. Some of them are about the two authors themselves as they try to figure out the confidence code.

Marshmallow is reading The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.
Marshmallow is reading The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.

S: Oh wait, I think I actually misspoke. In the notes for the grownup book, there are a few quizzes for readers if they want to figure out where they rank in terms of a few characteristics. Did you do any of the quizzes?

M: Yes, I did some of them. One of them was about how addicted you are to your phone if you have one. And when you took the test, it said you were addicted. 

S: Yes, but not extremely. Still it is true that I do check my phone a bit too obsessively. Ok, tell us about the stories. 

M: Some of the stories are true stories about girls who see a problem in the world and work to fix it. Others are fictional. Some are scenarios that ask the reader to make decisions in difficult situations. For example, say your friend is bragging that they won a competition in technology and it is getting on your nerves. They start to hang out with other kids who are into tech, and they ignore you. What do you do?

S: So, what would you do?

M: There were multiple choices. Like confront your friend, or act like nothing has changed. 

S: So, what would you do?

M: Out of the given options, I’d choose to confront my friend. 

Both Marshmallow and Sprinkles enjoyed reading their respective books on the Confidence Code, written by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, and learned a lot.
Both Marshmallow and Sprinkles enjoyed reading their respective books on the Confidence Code, written by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, and learned a lot.

S: So how is this related to confidence? 

M: The right answer is almost always to be comfortable with who you are and do something about a problem, rather than ignore it or keep worrying about it without doing anything. 

S: Yes, I remember the “no ruminating” rule from the adult book! I even have adopted “noru” as a codeword to remind myself to stop ruminating. So, would you recommend this book to your friends? And other young bunnies like yourself?

M: Yes, especially for girl bunnies ten years and older. This is not really a book for boys. 

S: Well, the adult book is also directed toward women. This makes sense. Ok, let us wrap this review up with your rating. 

M: I rate this book 100%.

Marshmallow rates The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman 100%.