Caramel reviews Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld

Both Caramel and Marshmallow love rereading their favorites over and over again. Caramel is rereading a long-time favorite these days: Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld. Below he shares some thoughts on this book. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions as needed.

Caramel reviews Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld.
Caramel reviews Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld.

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

Caramel: This is a friendship story. There is Stone, and there is Stick. Stone is a stone and Stick is a stick, of course.

S: Of course!

C: First they are alone and alone is not fun.

S: Then what happens?

C: Then they become friends. And then Stick helps Stone. Let me read to you. This is one of my two favorite parts:

Stone whispers: “Gee, you stuck up for me!”

“That’s just what sticks do. Friends do it too.”

S: That’s sweet! So the book is written like a poem; sentences seem to rhyme, right?

C: Yes. good point! “Gee” and “me” rhyme! And “do” and “too” rhyme too!

S: That makes the book more fun to read out loud I think. What do you think?

C: Yes, the next page says for example: “Stick, Stone. No longer alone.” “Stone” and “alone” rhyme too!

S: You said the above quote was one of your two favorites. What is your second favorite passage from the book?

C: Do you want me to read that too?

S: Yes, please do!

C: Ok, let me find it first. Here you go:

“You rock, Stone,” says Stick.

“That’s just what stones do. Best friendship rocks too.”

S: Yes, that is sweet, too! This is when Stone helps Stick in a tough situation, right?

C: Yes, that’s right. But I have a third section I want to read now.

“COWABUNGA!! KER-SPLOOSH!”

Caramel is pointing to the pages where Stone is rescuing Stick. "COWABUNGA!! KER-SPLOOSH!"
Caramel is pointing to the pages where Stone is rescuing Stick. “COWABUNGA!! KER-SPLOOSH!”

S: What do these mean Caramel?

C: These are sounds. The first is a bouncing sound and the second is a splash!

S: Hmm, I think I get it…

C: This is the best book ever! If I were Marshmallow, I would give it a 91%.

S: Well, Marshmallow never rates things 91% though.

C: Actually I think this is a 99%.

S: Really? Why not 100%?

C: Ok, how about 101%? Just kidding. It is a good book and I like it. I don’t care about the numbers. But if you want numbers, it should be twenty four thousand!

S: 24,000% is a big big number Caramel.

C: How about ninety nine trillion?

S: You must really like this book! Why do you like it so much?

C: I like stories about friendship. Remember I reviewed Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon before?

S: Yes, and you also reviewed The Missing Piece Meets The Big O by Shel Silverstein, which was also about friendship. And these are all sweet stories about being true friends.

C: Yes. Can we read it together one more time?

S: Sure Caramel. And we can also wrap up this review. Do you want to say the last word?

C: Yes! COWABUNGA!! KER-SPLOOSH!! Ok, now I’m done. Let’s read.

Caramel has been enjoying reading and rereading Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld.
Caramel has been enjoying reading and rereading Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld.

Marshmallow reviews Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Marshmallow enjoys reading books that pose complicated questions. Below she reviews a newish classic, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, published first in 1975, that explores the theme of immortality, in a way reminiscent of the story of Peter Pan.

Marshmallow reviews Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.
Marshmallow reviews Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books that pose life-size dilemmas and dig deeper into well-known stories, then this might be the book for you.  

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Winifred Foster (nicknamed Winnie) is venturing in a forest that she thinks is owned by her family when she finds a spring. She sees a boy that is drinking from it. The boy tells her that she should not drink from it. He says that his name is Jesse Tuck. Winnie asks him how old he is. Jesse claims that he is one hundred and four years old. Of course, she thinks that he is joking and trying to trick her and so she asks him how old he really is. He says that he is seventeen years old. Then she attempts to drink the water coming from the spring. He stops her, wondering aloud how he will explain the story of the spring to her. Then he hears his parents coming and says that they will explain the story to her. 

Jesse Tuck and his family take Winnie to their house. There they explain to her the curse of the spring. The curse of the spring is that it grants the drinker eternal life. Jesse’s family all drank from it and became immortal. 

But what is wrong with eternal life? The brother of Jesse Tuck, Miles Tuck, was married, but when he became immortal, his wife thought that he had sold his soul to the Devil. She then ran away with their children. He never saw them again. 

Later in the story, the Tucks set out to take Winnie back to her family. Then another man learns about the spring that makes the drinker immortal. He tells Winnie’s family (who have started to worry about her) that he will find Winnie and bring her back if they give him the forest. He later confronts the Tucks and tells them that he knows their secret and the secret of the spring. He tells them also that he will sell the spring water as immortal water. How can they stop him?    

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a great book that raises the question:

Is eternal life a blessing or a curse?

The Tucks say that it is a curse because people they love end up thinking that they sold their souls to the Devil. It can also be very lonely:

That’s what us Tucks are, Winnie. Stuck so’s we can’t move on. We ain’t part of the wheel no more. Dropped off, Winnie. Left behind. And everywhere around us, things is moving and growing and changing. You, for instance. A child now, but someday a woman. And after that moving on to make room for the new children.

Living’s heavy work, but off to one side, the way we are, it’s useless too …. You can’t call it living what we got.

But then there is the man who thinks he will make a fortune selling immortality. So people both want immortality and are afraid of it. 

The question of how the spring is there is also interesting. Mr. Tuck thinks that it is something left over from a plan that did not work. This remains a mystery in the book. 

Tuck Everlasting is a story that takes some of the ideas and themes from an older story, Peter Pan, and makes things messier and more complicated. In a paper she wrote in 1982, Professor Catherine M. Lynch says the following:

Both Peter Pan and Tuck Everlasting explore two alternative solutions to a conflict central to childhood experience: to grow up to adult responsibilities or not to grow up at all. By introducing readers to the Tuck family who magically cannot die in a world where everyone else does, Natalie Babbitt’s novel deepens the Peter Pan “myth” by dramatizing the fact that the choice of embracing adulthood includes, of necessity, choosing death.

I agree. I think this is a deeper and a more moving book than Peter Pan, which to me felt to be mainly about a little boy who did not want to grow up. But hmm, maybe I should read that story again…

Marshmallow is pointing to the foreword to her edition of Tuck Everlasting, written by Gregory Maguire. Maguire has a convincing argument for rereading good books, which Marshmallow agrees with.
Marshmallow is pointing to the foreword to her edition of Tuck Everlasting, written by Gregory Maguire. Maguire has a convincing argument for rereading good books, which Marshmallow agrees with.

Marshmallow’s rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Tuck Everlasting 95%.
Marshmallow rates Tuck Everlasting 95%.

Caramel reviews A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems

After reviewing three books from the Elephant and Piggie Like Reading series (see his reviews of The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat, The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham, and Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat), Caramel is now rereading some of his old favorites from the original Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Wilems. Below he shares his thoughts on A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions, though this time Caramel himself also tried typing some of the words.

Caramel reviews A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems.
Caramel reviews A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems.

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

Caramel: boing! Boing boing boing boing boing!  I love this book! boing!                           

S: So what is that supposed to mean?

C: it is one of the best books that I have ever read! It is a very good book! I love it! And the boinging is about a bouncy ball.

S: Yes, the book has a ball in the center of the story, right? Tell us about the story. What is happening in the book?

C : There is a big guy that takes Piggie’s ball! Piggie is very sad. So Gerald the Elephant goes to the big guy to try and take the ball back.

S : Why can’t Piggie take it back herself?

C : The guy is too big, she’s scared. It’s a humpback whale! They are huge!

S : Yes, apparently they can grow up to 25 to 30 tonnes. That is a huge weight Caramel. And it is about the size of ten mid-sized elephants. So the big guy is probably too big for Gerald as well, right?

Caramel is reading the page where Gerald is telling Piggie that the big guy is really big.
Caramel is reading the page where Gerald is telling Piggie that the big guy is really big.

C: Yes. But in the end everything works out, and all three of them play together. They play a game called whale ball. But I don’t get it.

S: What do you not get Caramel?

C: How is the whale not in the ocean? And where is the water coming from that it spouts from its blow hole?

S: Hmm, those are good questions Caramel, but maybe just like an elephant and a pig are quite unlikely to be friends, the whale joining them is also quite unlikely, but it can happen in fiction. Isn’t that what fiction is about? A lot of times things that don’t always make sense or cannot really happen do happen in stories.

C: I don’t always like that though. I like real things.

S: Yes, of course I know that Caramel. But there are many fiction books you also enjoy reading, right? I think you have enjoyed reading all the Elephant and Piggie books many many times.

C: Yes! I also love the Narwhal and Jelly books!

S: Yes, and you reviewed all four of them:  Narwhal: The Unicorn of the Sea!Super Narwhal and Jelly JoltPeanut Butter and Jelly, and Narwhal’s Otter Friend, all by Ben Clanton. It is a good thing to read a balance of fiction and non-fiction. I think you are doing great!

C: Yes! I like reading. And I will keep reading. And reviewing books!

Caramel loves reading and rereading A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems.
Caramel loves reading and rereading A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems.

Marshmallow reviews Rabbits for Dummies by Audrey Pavia

Marshmallow has been thinking a lot about bunnies lately. So she borrowed a For Dummies book from the home library: Rabbits for Dummies by Audrey Pavia. Below she writes about her thoughts on this book, her first review of a non-fiction book.

Marshmallow reviews Rabbits for Dummies by Audrey Pavia.
Marshmallow reviews Rabbits for Dummies by Audrey Pavia.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about taking care of pets, or if you love rabbits (like I do!), then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary: This is a non-fiction book. It contains many facts about rabbits. It tells the reader how to litter box train a rabbit, how to clip the nails of a pet rabbit, and many more tidbits of information. It has a wide variety of facts. 

The book contains nineteen chapters. My favorites are Chapters 10 (Reading Your Rabbit) and 11 (Putting Boxing Gloves on Your Rabbit: Training). These chapters are about how to understand a rabbit’s behavior (Reading Your Rabbit) and how to train your rabbit (Putting Boxing Gloves on Your Rabbit

The nineteen chapters of the book are organized into five parts. My favorite part is Part 1 Bringing on the Bunny Basics. I like this part because it teaches you about the many different breeds of rabbits. 

In the introduction the author lists the people who could like this book:

This book is for you if you:

* Want a rabbit.

* Think rabbits are cool and want to know more about them.

* Have a rabbit and are considering getting another.

* Own a rabbit and are considering breeding or showing it.

* Have a rabbit (or two) and want to expand your knowledge on how to care for these pets.

Marshmallow’s Review: The book Rabbits for Dummies is about how to take care of rabbits. It is a very good book for rabbits (like me!) and rabbit lovers. Reading it can really help a person learn about rabbits. 

The book has pictures that help describe the book contents. Many are distributed in the text, but there is a small section in the middle of the book made up entirely of color photos, printed on higher quality paper.  

Marshmallow is pointing at a Holland lop rabbit, one of her favorites.
Marshmallow is pointing at a Holland lop rabbit, one of her favorites.

At the beginning of each part, there is a comic that is about the contents of that part. These are all pretty hilarious. I laughed out loud while reading some of them. 

At the beginning of each part is a single comic. Marshmallow's favorite is the one starting Part IV.
At the beginning of each part is a single comic. Marshmallow’s favorite is the one starting Part IV.

Overall this is a very good book that is educational, funny, well-written, and very entertaining. It is sure to help everyone that wants to have a pet bunny. However, be warned: it will certainly make you want a bunny even more than you did before. When she lent me the book, Sprinkles had thought that it would make me realize how much work taking care of a bunny would be, but it seems like this has backfired. I now want a bunny even more!

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%

Marshmallow rates Rabbits for Dummies by Audrey Pavia 100%.
Marshmallow rates Rabbits for Dummies by Audrey Pavia 100%.