Caramel reviews Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Today Caramel reviews the 1972 classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz.
Caramel reviews Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz.

Sprinkles: Why don’t you start by telling us what this book is about Caramel?

Caramel: There is this boy named Alexander. This day for him is very bad. I read the book a few times, and we also just read it together last night, didn’t we Sprinkles?

S: Yes, we did. So why is Alexander’s day a bad one?

C: It starts out bad.

S: How?

C: He trips on his skateboard, and he had gum in his mouth when he fell asleep, so when he gets up, it is in his hair.

S: That’s terrible!

C: There’s more. His jacket falls into the sink while the water is still running and gets all wet. And then both his brothers get toys from their morning cereal and he only finds cereal in his box. Nothing else.

S: Hmm. That sounds like an unlucky day!

C: Yes, it is very unlucky for him.

S: So the whole book is about this very bad, no good day, right?

C: Yeah. It is sad for him. I sympathize with him.

S: How so?

C: I sometimes have bad days too. Don’t you know that Sprinkles?

S: Of course. We all have bad days sometimes.

C: And his is especially bad. His friends all get nice desserts in their lunch boxes, and he gets nothing for dessert. And his brother makes him fall down in the mud, and when he punches him, he gets caught and his mom scolds him. For being muddy and fighting. I’m mad at his brother, too.

S: Well, you are right. He should not have pushed Alexander into the mud. But you and Marshmallow also fight sometimes, right?

C: But it’s rare. And we never pushed each other into the mud.

S: Hmm. I guess here in this blog we should not admit to too many family secrets.

C: Yes. Family secrets! I like that.

S: Ok, so let us get back to Alexander. I know you actually have some mixed feelings about this book. Can you share a bit?

C: Ok. I’ll share my true feelings about it. I like it and I don’t like it.

S: Can you say a bit more?

C: The reason I don’t like it is because it is sad for him. Alexander really has a really bad day. And I like it because it’s kind of funny.

Caramel is reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz.

S: It is funny, true! And it is actually quite a realistic book, right? We read a lot of books where people always solve all their problems and end up happy and such. But in real life, sometimes things don’t go our way, and for no good reason, and we get frustrated and feel bad.

C: Or mad. Or both at the same time. Which is never the best of feelings.

S: So maybe the book can help a reader feel a bit better if they are having a bad day themselves. What do you think?

C: I think it could help. He is obsessed about Australia.

S: Yes, he wants to drop everything and …

C: And go to Australia!

S: As if that will solve his problems…

C: It won’t. But what if he did go to Australia?

S: well, it would not really have helped. That is what his mom says in the end right?

C: Right. She says some days are really bad, and even in Australia! I don’t really understand why he is so obsessed with Australia though.

S: I guess when he is so frustrated, he wants to get away from his problems, as far as possible. And Australia sounds far…

C: Probably it is. It is far from us! But it is not far for people who are already living in Australia.

S: That’s correct. But as Alexander’s mom says, people in Australia also have bad days.

C: Yes. Everybody has bad days sometimes. So for such days, you can read this book. Or just go to sleep. Like I will do now.

S: Ok, that sounds right to me. Why don’t we wrap this up then?

C: Ok, let’s. Stay tuned for more reviews from the book bunnies!

Caramel recommends Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz to all the little bunnies who might be having a bad day.
Caramel recommends Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz to all the little bunnies who might be having a bad day.

Marshmallow reviews The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook by Media Lab Books

Marshmallow began this blog with a review of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling. So it was only natural that eventually she would come back to one of her favorite fictional worlds: the magical world of Harry Potter. This week she tells us about a fun book she has been carrying around with her for a while now: The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World by Media Lab Books.

Marshmallow reviews The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World, by Media Lab Books.
Marshmallow reviews The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World, by Media Lab Books.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you liked the Harry Potter series, or more generally if you like books about magic, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary: This is not really a typical book. It is an amazing guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Every single spell that you heard in the movies or read about in the books, even the ones that are barely mentioned, are included in this book. It also lists where the spell or charm was used or mentioned, whether in the books, the movies, the video games, or somewhere else.  Each entry describes the gestures you need to perform the spell and how to pronounce the incantation. On top of that, it also has the different wand cores and woods. Also it tells you which wand types the main characters had. It also informs the reader about Enchanted Objects like the Goblet of Fire and Candy. 

The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook is great for bunnies who want to learn the spells that are used by the wizards and witches in the Harry Potter world. It also teaches the reader more about the World of Harry Potter. My favorite spell in the book is “Dragonifors”.

Dragonifors
Type: Transfiguration
Use: Turns small objects into dragons
Etymology: In Latin, draco means “dragon” and forma means “shape”
Magic Moment: Minerva McGonagall teaches this spell in third-year Transfiguration class
Note: This spell is only seen in the Prisoner of Azkaban video game.
Produces much smaller, less powerful creatures than true dragons.

Marshmallow is reading her favorite spells in The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World, by Media Lab Books.
Marshmallow is reading her favorite spells in The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World, by Media Lab Books.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a very good book that is meant for Harry Potter fans. The comments in the book like “Swish and Flick” remind you of the movies. It has every spell and is very interesting to read. The comments on the back are also very interesting.

Who needs The Standard Book of Spells when you have this?

Horace Belby,  former Hogwarts student

The book does not tell us a new story from the Harry Potter world, but it is a book you would expect to see at Hogwarts, similar to the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (which was of course actually written by J.K. Rowling). This book also contains incantations from that story.

Readers of this blog might recall that my very first review was of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. So obviously I am a Harry Potter fan. Years ago, I began trying to write a notebook on the Wizarding World. I wrote down a lot of things, but I got stuck on the spells. This book was exactly what I needed!

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World, by Media Lab Books, 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World, by Media Lab Books, 100%.

Caramel reviews The Bad Guys in The Furball Strikes Back by Aaron Blabey (Bad Guys #3)

A few weeks ago, Caramel reviewed the first book in Aaron Blabey’s Bad Guys series. Then soon after that, he reviewed the second book in the series: The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable. Today he reviews the third book: The Bad Guys in The Furball Strikes Back. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Bad Guys in The Furball Strikes Back by Aaron Blabey (Bad Guys #3).
Caramel reviews The Bad Guys in The Furball Strikes Back by Aaron Blabey (Bad Guys #3).

Sprinkles: So we just finished reading the book together. But you had read and reread the book several times before already. Why don’t you tell our readers a bit about this book Caramel?

Caramel: Sure. Do you remember what happened at the end of the second book?

S: Yes, but maybe you can remind our readers.

C: Ok. In the very end of the second book, we meet a guinea pig named Marmalade, and he is really angry at our bad guys for saving the chickens.

S: So let’s track back a bit. Who are our bad guys?

C: A shark, a wolf, a snake, a piranha, and a tarantula, who joined the team in the second book.

S: So these are animals that people are usually afraid of, and they usually are villains in stories. And in this series of books, they want to become good, and do good deeds. Right?

C: Actually, only the wolf wants to do that, at least in the first book. But then the others like the idea too, after they save the puppies there. And in the second book they save ten thousand chickens.

S: And this Marmalade is angry at them for saving the chickens?

C: Yes.

S: Why?

C: Because the chicken farm was apparently his. And he is evil. He is a billionaire mad scientist, and is tired of people thinking he is cute and cuddly.

S: So he doesn’t want to be cute and cuddly anymore?

C: No. I don’t know why.

S: Well, that is kind of funny actually, right? The bad guys don’t want to be bad anymore and the cute cuddly animal doesn’t want to be cute and cuddly.

C: Yes.

Caramel is reading The Bad Guys in The Furball Strikes Back by Aaron Blabey (Bad Guys #3).
Caramel is reading The Bad Guys in The Furball Strikes Back by Aaron Blabey (Bad Guys #3).

S: So what happens in this book? in the last one there was also a mysterious ninja. Does that ninja show up in this third book?

C: Well, actually the ninja did not really show up in the second book, only on the last page, they tell us there will be a mysterious ninja. And in this book she shows up.

S: She? The ninja is female? That’s cool!

C: Yes, she is awesome!

S: So what really happens in this book?

C: We learn that Marmalade (“that’s Dr. Rupert Marmalade to you!”) has plans to take over the world. He has a “secret weapon”.

S: And do we learn what this secret weapon is in this book?

C: Yes and no. We see them in this book but we learn how dangerous they are in the next book. Marmalade is trying to turn every single cute and cuddly animal into zombies!

S: Wow! That is not so nice, is it?

C: Nope. Marmalade is evil! All he cares about is having power.

S: So this book also ends in a cliffhanger then?

C: Sort of. So I will end my review with my usual words: Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel really enjoyed reading The Bad Guys in The Furball Strikes Back by Aaron Blabey (Bad Guys #3) and is looking forward to reading more about their adventures.
Caramel really enjoyed reading The Bad Guys in The Furball Strikes Back by Aaron Blabey (Bad Guys #3) and is looking forward to reading more about their adventures.

Marshmallow reviews Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs

Marshmallow has already reviewed a book in Stuart Gibbs’ Teddy Fitzroy / FunJungle series: see her review of Belly Up, the first book of the series. Today she reviews the fourth book: Panda-monium.

Marshmallow reviews Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs, the fourth book in the FunJungle series.
Marshmallow reviews Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs, the fourth book in the FunJungle series.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you liked Belly Up or any of the other books by Stuart Gibbs (or if you just enjoy a good mystery), then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Teddy Fitzroy lives in FunJungle, the world’s most elaborate zoo, owned by the billionaire J.J. McCracken. Living in FunJungle is not boring but it is dangerous. First Henry Hippo is murdered (see my review of the first book of the series where this happens), then Kazoo the Koala is koala-napped (in the second book), and then someone tries to kill the park’s rhinos (in the third book). Now, the most expensive animal that the zoo features, the giant panda Li Ping, gets kidnapped.

This is a big deal and the FBI steps in. Since the Chinese government lent Li Ping to J.J. McCracken, when he loses the panda he not only has to deal with the angry Chinese government but also the many people who wanted to see Li Ping. The guard who accompanied Li Ping, Marge O’Malley (who Teddy calls Large Marge because she is determined to send him to juvenile hall), is blamed. To make matters worse her sister who works in the FBI works on the case. Large Marge is determined to solve this case first, and since Teddy has a record of solving crimes (see FunJungle books), she blackmails him into solving the case. As he learns more and more, it becomes clear that not everyone is as innocent as they look.

Marshmallow is reading Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs, the fourth book in the FunJungle series.
Marshmallow is reading Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs, the fourth book in the FunJungle series.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is not your standard mystery book. It is a book that makes you want to find out who committed the crime so much that you will want to skip to the end.

This one is like the other books in the FunJungle series in the way that it is very suspenseful. There are many suspects but you don’t know who the real culprit is.

Though the book has no pictures, Stuart Gibbs puts an image in your mind. When you read his books, it seems like you know the characters. You admire Teddy Fitzroy and Summer McCracken, J.J. McCracken’s daughter, for their incredible detective skills and have a natural suspicion of Large Marge.

Gibbs does a great job of writing these stories that only Fitzroy could solve. In the end, you realize that all of the clues were in front of you the whole time but you never thought of it that way. J.J. McCracken’s character is interesting because he is very sly and sometimes seems to be nice but then sometimes he is not. The plot is very well written.

Panda-monium is as good as the previous books in terms of the suspense and the plot. And it is one of the funniest books in the series.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs, the fourth book in the FunJungle series, 100%.
Marshmallow rates Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs, the fourth book in the FunJungle series, 100%.