Caramel reviews The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat

Caramel always enjoyed reading the Elephant and Piggie books of Mo Willems, and so he was very excited when he saw the book series Elephant and Piggie Like Reading. Below he shares his thoughts on the first book he read from the series: The Cookie Fiasco, by Dan Santat. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Cookies Fiasco by Dan Santat.
Caramel reviews The Cookies Fiasco by Dan Santat.

Sprinkles: Tell me about this book Caramel.

Caramel: This book is about four friends who love cookies, and they have some chocolate chip cookies, but there are only three cookies, and they want to share equally.

S: Who are the four friends?

C: Hippo, Croc, and two squirrels. The hippo is pink and purple, the croc is green, and the squirrels are orange and blue. The book is very colorful. And at the very end there is a cow who joins them.

S: What does this have to do with Elephant and Piggie?

C: They’re reading the book with us. So we see them only at the beginning and at the end of the book. But they are as funny as usual!

S: I agree! And the book actually feels quite similar to the Elephant and Piggie books, right? The back cover and the binding even have the same color scheme and design style… So it’s pretty familiar to someone like you who read so many of the Elephant and Piggie books, right?

C: Right!

S: So how do the four friends resolve the problem?

C: The hippo breaks the cookies in half and then in smaller pieces. Till the three cookies become twelve cookie pieces. And then each friend can get three pieces. That’s fair!

S: Our family could use this trick too, right? If we wanted to share three cookies among the four of us bunnies, then we could split each cookie into four and then each of us could take one piece from each cookie.

C: Yeah! Then we could all eat yummy cookies!

S: Yes! Looking at the book again, is there a character you liked more than others?

C: I liked the crocodile most.

S: Why is that?

C: Because I really like his answer when the others try to get him to give up his share:

-I heard crocodiles do not like cookies.

-Maybe YOU should not get a cookie!

-Huh?! I eat cookies! I love cookies! I could eat a whole plate right now!

And he’s looking really worried on that page. He’s funny!

Caramel is reading one of his favorite pages in The Cookies Fiasco by Dan Santat.
Caramel is reading one of his favorite pages in The Cookies Fiasco by Dan Santat.

S: Yes he is! The whole book is quite fun to read. Do you like reading it with me or do you like to read it alone?

C: It’s always more fun to read with somebody else.

S: Yes! I enjoy reading it with you too. We can make funny voices when we do that, right?

C: Yep! But in the end I always agree with Gerald the Elephant. This book makes me hungry and thirsty! Especially for chocolate chip cookies and some milk!

S: Yes, some cookies and milk would be nice. Maybe this is a good time to end this review. Or we will get hungrier and hungrier.

C: I WANT TO EAT COOKIES NOW!!!

S: Ok, let’s see what we have in the kitchen…

Caramel really enjoyed reading The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat and is looking forward to reading other Elephant and Pigggie Like Reading books.
Caramel really enjoyed reading The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat and is looking forward to reading other Elephant and Pigggie Like Reading books.

Marshmallow reviews Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Marshmallow reviews an old favorite: Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.

Marshmallow reviews Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.
Marshmallow reviews Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about kids with extraordinary life styles, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): Pippi Longstocking lives in a small house called Villa Villekulla with her horse and her monkey Mr. Nilsson. The town that Villa Villekulla is in has an extraordinary time with Pippi living there. Pippi has many adventures including going to the circus and saving two boys’ lives.

Soon after she moves in to her new home, Pippi makes two new friends, Tommy and Annika. They go to picnics and tea parties together (with Mr. Nilsson the monkey). While at a picnic, Pippi attempts to fly and fails miserably. At a circus, Pippi angers the people performing and beats the “strongest” man in the world. (Pippi is the strongest girl in the world and therefore beats him in a fight that the owner of the circus challenges the audience to. (The circus chapter is my favorite besides the one where Pippi goes to school.)

Pippi is not always welcomed with open arms. A boy named Bengt tries to taunt Pippi and pays the price. No one messes with Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint  Efraim’s Daughter Longstocking, Daughter of Captain Efraim Longstocking, formerly the Terror of the Sea (in Swedish, according to Wikipedia: Pippilotta Viktualia Rullgardina Krusmynta Efraimsdotter Långstrump).

The people who live in the town think that a child should not be living alone, so they send two police men to go and escort Pippi to a Children’s Home. (If violence is necessary they will use it.) Later that afternoon the policemen come rushing out and tell the people that she is not fit for an orphanage.   

Pippi is always happy and is almost never mad. She has a good sense of humor but desperately lacks an education. She does not know what the letter “i” is.  She also lies a lot and makes up a lot of stories.

Marshmallow’s Review:  I think that if you read this book then you will soon like Pippi. She is a very likable character but is not always very smart. She also lies a lot so she is probably not a very good role model. But she is strong and independent and always sees the good side of things.

The first Pippi book was written in 1945, and there were quite a few times I noticed it was an old book. But I could move beyond these reminders of past times and expectations and still enjoy the book. Pippi can be really silly and very entertaining.  She always means well but she is pretty wild. So her adventures are really fun to read. But do not copy what she does! (Her pancake making, for instance, is very unusual.)

The author Astrid Lindgren wrote several other books about Pippi. (And I have seen a movie version, but I was a baby bunny back then, and I was quite scared by all the action. But that was a long time ago and I don’t remember much, so maybe I should just watch it again.)

Overall Pippi Longstocking is a very good book. I know I will read it again.  

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%

Marshmallow rates Pippi Longstocking 100%.
Marshmallow rates Pippi Longstocking 100%.

Caramel reviews Knights and Castles (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #2) by Will Osborne and Mary Pope Osborne

Caramel recently started reading the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. After reading the first two books and their accompanying Fact Tracker books, he decided that he really really likes the second Fact Tracker book on knights and castles that is meant to accompany Magic Tree House #2: The Knight at Dawn. Below he shares his thoughts on why. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions when needed.

Caramel reviews Knights and Castles by Will Osborne and Mary Pope Osborne.

Sprinkles: What do you want to tell us about this book Caramel?

Caramel: It’s nice. There’s lots of pictures. And it has many many facts. The whole book is full of facts. I like that.

S: Yes, I noticed you like nonfiction a lot. You always make sure to share your favorite facts even in your reviews of fiction books. Why do you like nonfiction?

C: Then I know more about the world. And I like learning new things. My middle name should be Curious!

S: I like that! So what kind of facts did you learn from this book?

C: The knights lived in the Middle Ages.

S: Do you know when that was?

C: Not really.

S: Let us look at the book together!

C: 1300s? Ok, I’m reading from page 14:

“The Middle Ages began about 450 AD. They lasted for over 1000 years.”

That is a long time!

S: Yes it is.

Caramel is finding that he likes books with facts!

S: What other facts did you find interesting?

C: Let me look. The first castles! I’m reading on page 22:

“The first castles looked more like forts in the Old West than like castles in fairy tales. They were built out of wood. These castles were usually built on a mound of earth called a motte.”

S: Was that one of your favorite facts?

C: Yep. And I learned about tournaments. Then I was curious and wanted to learn more. So I saw a video from the History Channel that showed people fighting with lances today. It’s called jousting. There are men in full armor, on horses, and the horses have armor too. And the men have lances. A lance is a very long stick with a sharp end to poke your enemy with. But in a tournament, it is enough to push your enemy off their horse.

S: Would you want to be in a jousting tournament?

C: I’m a bunny! How would I carry a lance and ride a horse? I’m too small for that.

S: It also kind of looks violent, right?

C: Yes, but there are rules against actually hurting one another. And the horse. You cannot hit the other guy’s horse!

S: That sounds fair. So what else did you like about this book Caramel?

C: I like that the book is all about facts, but sometimes on the sides of the book, there is Jack and Annie from the Magic Tree House books, and they tell us things.

S: Yes, I saw them on the margins too. What kinds of things do they say?

C: Annie for instance says at some point that it wasn’t fair that only boys could be knights. She’s right, of course!

S: Yes, that’s true. Girls couldn’t do many things back then.

C: But today girls can do so much more! They can do anything! The person who wrote the Magic Tree House books is a girl, for example!

S: And she does write really well, doesn’t she?

C: Yes, and I’m looking forward to reading more of her books.

Caramel really enjoyed Knights and Castles and is looking forward to reading more of the Fact Tracker books.

Marshmallow reviews A Crystal of Time by Soman Chainani (Book 5 of The School for Good and Evil series)

Last week Marshmallow reviewed Quests for Glory, the fourth book of Soman Chainani’s School for Good and Evil series. Today she writes about her thoughts on the fifth book: A Crystal of Time.

Marshmallow reviews The School for Good and Evil: A Crystal of Time by Soman Chainani.
Marshmallow reviews The School for Good and Evil: A Crystal of Time by Soman Chainani.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about fantasy, twisted fairy tales, and Soman Chainani’s books, then you will enjoy this book! If you haven’t read the first four books of the School for Good and Evil series though, then you might want to read them first.

“In the forest of primeval
A school for Good and Evil
Twin towers like two heads
One for the pure
And one for the wicked
Try to escape you’ll always fail,
The only way out is
Through a fairytale.”

It all began in The School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani’s first novel. This was a school of fairy tales, where witches and princesses, warlocks and princes were trained. In the end a select few would become the heroes and the villains of future storybooks. The tales would be recorded by a magical pen, The Storian. We learn about this whole world through the eyes and experiences of Agatha and Sophie, two friends whose destiny takes them to different places and brings them back together.

The first book is followed by A World Without Princes, where witches and princesses are friends, and warlocks and princes become accomplices. The dividing line now becomes gender, instead of good versus evil.

The third book of the series, The Last Ever After, reorganizes the world of the School, and Sophie and Agatha have many new adventures.

The fourth book, Quests for Glory, started the Camelot Years. If you want to learn about the book, see my review from last week.

This review is about the fifth book of the hexalogy.

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): When “King” Rhian puts a bounty on her head, Agatha is on the run. With her true love about to be executed, her best friend forced to be the “king’s” queen at the tip of a knife, and everyone else who could help her in prison, Agatha has nowhere to go. That is, until she meets her wild-haired canary-like Beautification teacher who takes her on stymph to the School for Good and Evil. (A stymph is a ginormous bird with no skin or flesh. It is practically a skeleton that is alive.)

The students there are all first years and have barely unlocked their finger glows. (Every student at the School for Good and Evil has a finger glow that is a unique color. For example Agatha and Tedros’ finger glows are different shades of gold, while Sophie’s is hot pink.) In other words, they are not very good at magic yet, but they are still eager to help Agatha rescue Tedros and the rest of the rebels.

Agatha and her accomplices are eventually able to save their friends, but some people are left behind, including Sophie. The rebels go back to save them and do so, but at a cost. Clarrisa Dovey, the dean of Good, who was Agatha’s godmother, dies, and is finally reunited with her true love, Lady Lesso, the deceased dean of Evil. (Lady Lasso was murdered by her blood-thirsty son, Aric, in The Last Ever After.)

But during the time Sophie was at Camelot, she discovered that Rhian and his twin Japeth are not only trying to be the king of Camelot but of the world. They plan to do this by destroying the Storian’s hundred rings that secure the very life of the Endless Woods. By the time the whole rebel team learns about this, there is only three left and time is running out. Will they be able to stop Rhain and Jaspeth before it is too late?

Marshmallow is studying the crystal of time.
Marshmallow is studying the crystal of time.

Marshmallow’s Review: The longest of the series so far (624 pages!), this was a great read! My new favorite character is Nicola, a first year, who saves the lives of Agatha and her friends many times. Agatha’s cat is pretty cool, too. He’s funny. And if you’re wondering, Sophie is not as bad in this book as she used to be, but she’s still annoying.

This book answered some open questions from previous books, and posed a lot more new ones. Can’t wait for the sixth and final book!

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%

Marshmallow rates A Crystal of Time 100%.
Marshmallow rates A Crystal of Time 100%.