Dearest readers, last year the book bunnies took off all of July to enjoy the summer. This summer there is much less traveling (or more generally just much less of summer fun) all around, but there is still something to be said for taking time off. So we decided to take the month of July off once again. We will be back with more book reviews in August!
Till then we leave you with one of our travel pictures from a while back. Enjoy!
A few weeks ago Caramel reviewed a beautiful nonfiction book titled The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson. Today he decided to talk about a similar book: The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures, once again illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: I have been seeing you read and reread this book for the last few weeks. What is it about?
Caramel: It’s about ocean animals. Well, there is also corals…
S: Are corals animals?
C: They’re made of polyps which are little animals. Tiny, probably microscopic.
S: Hmm, let’s see. Wikipedia tells us that corals are made up of polyps as you said. And polyps are tiny invertebrates but nowhere do I see how big they are. So I guess I will take your word for it for now…
C: Oh, wait, I want to tell you this fact: Polyps are relatives of jellyfish! Did you know that?
C: And they have “tentacles for sifting food from water”.
S: That is interesting Caramel! I can see why you find this book fascinating! It is full of interesting facts.
C: Yep. Let me tell you a few facts about my favorite ocean creature in this book.
S: Oh, I am curious. What is it about?
C: Here, I found it: Flying fish!
Flying fish do not actually fly. They leap out of the water at high speeds and then glide on their winglike fins. The fish glide to escape larger predators that are attacking them underwater.
S: This is all very interesting!
C: There’s more!
S: But we should talk more about the book more generally. So tell me more about the book. What creatures are described in it?
C: I’ll tell you all of the animals in this book.
S: So you’ll read me the table of contents basically?
S: Wow! That is a lot of creatures. And just like in the other Magnificient Book you reviewed, each of these animals gets two pages to itself, right?
C: Yes. And they also have amazing drawings! They are actually hand-drawn! It’s amazing!
S: I know! Some people are really good at drawing and illustrating, right?
C: They’re so good! They’re out of this world! At first I actually thought they were photos, but no, they are hand-drawn.
S: Yes, I am sure the illustrator worked really hard on them. And she must have worked really hard to get this good!
C: This reminds me of a quote, I do not know who it is from: “We do not do it because it is easy. We do it because it is hard.”
S: Oh, that is President John F. Kennedy’s speech about going to the moon. Here is the full transcript. The part you are remembering is:
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
Isn’t it an inspiring speech? And you are right in remembering it just now. Good illustrators work hard at their craft, and even if they probably find drawing easier than you and me, drawing that well needs a lot of hard work.
C: I guess all that hard work be tiring.
S: Probably. But in the end they have a truly magnificent book!
S: Okay, Caramel. Let us wrap this up. Do you want to rate it again, by finding three words to describe this book?
C: Yes. Here they are: Awesome, amazing, beautiful.
S: Well, these basically say the same thing, but I know what you mean. The book is beautiful. Alright, here are my three words: “colorful”, “big”, because it is a pretty big book, and “interesting”, because there are a lot of interesting facts in this book that I did not know about.
Today Marshmallow reviews a classic: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, first published in 1962. This is the first book of L’Engle’s Time Quintet.
Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like classic science fiction or just like some of Madeleine L’Engle’s books, then this might be the book for you.
Marshmallow’s Summary: Meg Murry wakes up on a stormy night and finds a mysterious guest in the kitchen. Soon Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and her friend Calvin O’Keefe set off to find Meg and Charles’s father who was sent on a dangerous and secret mission. The Murry family stopped receiving letters from him and they had not seen him since.
The children set out to find Mr. Murry and the mysterious guest, Mrs. Whatsit, helps them with her friends, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. Meg and her companions learn that there is an evil entity, the Black Thing, that is taking over the universe and that their father is in danger. They travel to the world in which he is captive and try to rescue their father. They face a man with red eyes, who can control the people who look into his eyes. Charles Wallace looks in his eyes intentionally and they manage to rescue Meg’s father, but Charles Wallace gets stuck on the planet. They have saved Meg’s father, but now they have to save Charles Wallace.
Marshmallow’s Review: This is a very intriguing book because there are very interesting characters and the plot is very well written. My favorite character is Charles Wallace. He is very logical. He is also different from everyone else but he is ok with that.
I think that A Wrinkle in Time makes a great read for bunnies of all ages, but if the bunny is very young then there probably should be an older bunny reading the book to them because it is on the longer side. (It has 232 pages.) I think that A Wrinkle in Time is probably best for bunnies ages 8 and up because it may not be an easy read for younger bunnies.
A Wrinkle in Time starts with a very famous sentence, Snoopy‘s favorite:
“It was a dark and stormy night.”
The sentence even has its own Wikipedia page! Apparently L’Engle used the sentence intentionally, even though it is seen by many as a cliche.
Madeleine L’Engle’s book has been made into a movie, twice. The first one was made in 2003. The second one was made in 2018. Caramel, Sprinkles, and I saw the movie in the theatre and we enjoyed it. Here is the trailer:
Madeleine L’Engle’s book is a classic and a great read for all ages. It is an entertaining read for all bunnies but also gets scary or sad at some points (more scary than sad). I really enjoyed reading it.
Beverly Cleary is a prolific author and the book bunnies have read many of her books through the years. Last year, Marshmallow reviewed Beezus and Ramona, the first book by Cleary featuring one of her signature characters, Ramona Quimby. Today Caramel picks up the mantle and reviews The Mouse and the Motorcycle, written in 1965, the first book featuring Ralph S. Mouse. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: So this week we are talking about a chapter book. This book has been sitting in your room for a while now. What made you decide to finally pick it up?
Caramel: Hmm, I don’t actually know. I just thought about reading it. I picked it up when I was sent to clean up my room.
S: Hmm, that worked out well, I suppose. So what do you want to tell us about it?
C: It has 186 pages, and then there are some extras. There is a note from Beverly Cleary. Then “Ralph answers some questions”, then “Ralph thanks the readers”, and then there is a section called “About the pictures in this book”.
S: Those sound interesting. But who is Ralph? I think we first need to clarify that.
C: Ralph is a mouse who lives in a knot hole in a hotel room, at the Mountain View Inn.
S: And that is supposedly in California, right?
C: I think so.
S: So what happens to Ralph? I’m guessing that he is the mouse in the title. Is that right?
C: Yes. He meets this boy named Keith. Keith has a toy sedan and a sports car, and an ambulance.
S: Does he also have a toy motorcycle?
C: Yes he does. And one day, Ralph tries to ride the motorcycle and falls in a waste bin.
S: That must be scary for him!
C: Yes it is.
S: Is that how he meets Keith?
C: Yes, and then they become friends. Apparently Ralph can talk, and Keith can understand him.
S: After all, this is fiction. We have seen talking animals before, right?