Marshmallow reviews Holes by Louis Sachar

This week Marshmallow wanted to write about a book she has borrowed from her school library. Below she shares her thoughts about this book: Holes, by Louis Sachar.

Marshmallow reviews Holes, by Louis Sachar.
Marshmallow reviews Holes, by Louis Sachar.

Marshmallow’s Overview: If you like books about treasure and family curses and children, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers):  Stanley Yelnats (his last name spelled backwards is Stanley) gets arrested for stealing the shoes of Clyde Livingston, a famous baseball player who is usually called “Sweet Feet”. The shoes were going to be donated to the shelter in which he was raised. Stanley is actually innocent but his explanation is not very believable: the shoes fell from the sky and he tried to run home to give them to his father who was trying to invent a way to recycle shoes. Stanley “had thought that they were God’s blessing” and that God had given them to Stanley to deliver to his father.

So Stanley is accused and he has two options: going to prison or going to Camp Green Lake to dig holes to improve character. Stanley and his parents choose him to go to Camp Green Lake to dig holes.

After an eight-hour ride to the camp, he is introduced to other kids who have been at the camp for a long time and have experience in digging holes. The Camp has no lakes, and is not green.

Every day the kids at the camp have to march out on the nonexistent lake and dig a hole that has to be 5ft deep and 5ft wide. They measure the holes with their shovels that are 5ft long. They are supposed to do this everyday including Saturday and Sunday.

At the Camp, Stanley meets Zero, a strange kid who apparently likes to dig holes and does not know how to read. Zero is the fastest digger and makes a deal with Stanley to dig his hole for him if he teaches him how to read. Stanley and Zero becomes good friends.

Camp Green Lake is run by the Warden. She has poisonous nail polish made with rattlesnake venom. Everyone at the camp thinks that she can see everything. Eventually Zero and Stanley find out that the Warden is after something. They realize that all kids digging are working to help the Warden find the loot of Kissing Kate Barlow. And Zero and Stanley figure out that if the Warden finds the treasure, she will probably not use it for good.

Who will find the treasure first?

Marshmallow is reading Holes, by Louis Sachar.
Marshmallow is reading Holes, by Louis Sachar.

Marshmallow’s Review: I loved this book. It is very well written and the plot is fantastic. I had heard that this was a fantastic book and it really is. Kids under 5 might get scared at some points, but overall it is not too scary.

This is a great read for anyone to read alone or to read aloud. I expect I will read it again.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Holes, by Louis Sachar, 100%.
Marshmallow rates Holes, by Louis Sachar, 100%.

Caramel reviews Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald

Caramel loves picture books and big-format non-fiction books, but he is also reading some chapter books these days. This week he is talking about the first book in Megan McDonald’s Stink series: Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.
Caramel reviews Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.

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

Caramel: This book is about a boy named Stink.

S: Is Stink his real name?

C: No. It’s a name his big sister gave him. She is mean.

S: Yes, naming your little brother “Stink” is not a very nice thing to do, is it?

C: No. And she killed his class pet, too.

S: Wait, how did that happen?

C: It went down the drain!

S: So Stink, wait, what is his real name?

C: No idea.

S: Let us see. I’m sure we can figure it out. Hmm, look, here is the letter he wrote to the governor.

C: Yes. He signed the letter James E. Moody. So that must be his name.

S: But then why is the book called Stink?

C: His big sister calls him Stink.

S: Oh yes, and who is his big sister?

C: Judy Moody.

S: Yes, so maybe some readers will have met this little boy in the Judy Moody books, right? And in those books, everything is told from Judy’s perspective, and Judy thinks her little brother is annoying.

C: But this book is about the brother, and we read Stink’s own ideas.

S: Yes we finally get to meet this little person for real and see things from his perspective a bit. Do you like that?

C: Yes. But I have not read any of the Judy Moody books. Marshmallow has read many, but she has not yet reviewed any for this blog.

S: Maybe she will one day. But let’s get back to Stink. So this is a chapter book, so there are many different things that happen to James E Moody, right?

C: There are seven chapters, so seven different stories. But they are all about Stink.

S: Which one is your favorite?

C: I don’t know. They are all a little different. But they are also all about Stink wanting to grow taller.

S: Yes, I guess that is why the book is titled the shrinking kid. Because Stink thinks at the beginning that he is shrinking. Do you think that is really happening?

C: He shrank a quarter of an inch!

S: How could that have happened?

C: No idea.

S: What would you do if you found out you were shrinking?

C: I would be scared. I’m already small. I’m a little bunny.

S: Yes, that is true… Hmm. Tell me more about the book. Tell me about the pictures.

C: Many of the pictures are supposed to be drawn by Stink. I like them. They are funny.

S: Yes, I saw the one where the sink that the class pet disappeared in became a monster, according to Stink’s drawing.

Caramel is reading the page in Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid (written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds) where Stink is introducing us to the Jaws Monster, which is basically the sink that ate up his class pet newt (or rather, his big sister Judy Moody dropped the newt and then it went down the drain).
Caramel is reading the page in Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid (written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds) where Stink is introducing us to the Jaws Monster, which is basically the sink that ate up his class pet newt (or rather, his big sister Judy Moody dropped the newt and then it went down the drain).

S: So do you think this is a fun book to read?

C: Yes. I might even read it again and again. But now, it’s time to wrap things up.

S: Yes. So you have something to say, right?

C: Yes! Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel has enjoyed reading Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.
Caramel has enjoyed reading Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.

Marshmallow reviews Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

This week Marshmallow reviews a recent book by Yoon Ha Lee: Dragon Pearl.

Marshmallow reviews Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee.
Marshmallow reviews Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee.

Marshmallow’s Overview: If you like books about mythology and space, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): 13-year-old Min learns that her brother, Jun, is accused of deserting the Space Force in search of the Dragon Pearl. Min knows that her brother would never leave the Space Force, the organization that he always wanted to be a part of ever since he was a little boy. Even if he knew where the Dragon Pearl was. (The Dragon Pearl is a legendary object that can transform a whole planet in a day. In this story world, dragons exist and they have “Terraforming powers”, but they take year to terraform a planet.) So Min decides that something must have gone wrong. To prove that her brother did not desert the Space Force she leaves her home planet, Jinju, and goes in search of her brother.

Min is eventually able to find the ship that her brother was on when he “deserted”. She also finds her brother, but it is not how she wanted or expected to find him.

Marshmallow is reading Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee.
Marshmallow is reading Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a good book that is a mix of Korean mythology, science fiction, and fantasy. There are fox spirits, dragons, and interesting theories about how machines run in the story universe. (Apparently, they run on an energy that is called “gi” that is like the blood of their machines and ships.) 

In the first page, we learn that Min is a “fox spirit”. In Korean mythology, a fox spirit is a magical being that has the ability to transform into anything they want to transform into. They are also able to “Charm” others which is to make others trust them or feel angry, sad, or happy and other feelings. So, basically they can “Charm” others to feel certain feelings. 

The School Library Journal praised the book with the following words, which summarize the book well:

Lee skillfully weaves Korean folklore into this space opera narrative, creating dynamics and relatable characters. VERDICT: With ghosts, pirates, and a rollicking space adventure, there’s a little something for everyone here.

The School Library Journal, https://www.slj.com/?reviewDetail=dragon-pearl

Reading Dragon Pearl may encourage you to learn more about Korean Mythology because we read about many interesting creatures. Min’s friends who are helping her find the Dragon Pearl so it does not fall into the wrong hands are, like her, magical creatures. (Hanuel is a dragon who can transform into a human but she is in human form most of the time. Sujin is a goblin.)

This book might be better for readers that are 10 and older because there are gamblers and guns. There are also ghosts in the story, which might scare some readers, too. It also might be a little confusing for younger readers but overall this is a very interesting and entertaining book.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 90%.

Marshmallow rates Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee 90%.
Marshmallow rates Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee 90%.

Caramel reviews And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

Today Caramel picked a sweet real-life story of two chinstrap penguins revolving around themes of family and love to share with the Book Bunnies Blog readers. Below he discusses And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions, as always.

Caramel reviews And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole.
Caramel reviews And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole.

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

Caramel: It’s a good book. A really good book. It’s about two penguins who are both boys, and they have a baby together.

S: How does that happen?

C: The zoo keeper gives them an egg. He puts it into their nest. Then they put it in the middle. Every day they turn it, so then all sides get warm. They take turns sitting on the egg.

S: Then what happens?

C: The egg hatches. It then grows strong enough to leave the nest. Then they take their baby to the water to swim.

S: And the zoo guests cheer them on, right?

C: Yes!

Caramel is looking at the page of And Tango Makes Three, where all penguins are playing together and the zoo guests are cheering them on.
Caramel is looking at the page of And Tango Makes Three, where all penguins are playing together and the zoo guests are cheering them on.

S: We have seen penguins at zoos, right?

C: I think so. I think at least once.

S: They are fun to watch. They waddle and dive into the water, and jump out.

C: Yes! They go “weeeeee!”

S: Did you know that this is based on a real story?

C: I didn’t know when I read the book. But then we read together the Wikipedia entry on the book and I learned.

S: Yes, apparently the story is based on two real penguins, named Roy and Silo, like in the book, and their adopted child, Tango.

C: Yes, and Tango makes three! Roy and Silo are two, and then plus Tango makes three.

S: That’s why they named the book that, right? Can you think of another name for the book?

C: No. I think the name of the book is just perfect.

S: I agree. What else do you want to tell us about the book?

C: If you like penguins, this is a really good book!

S: And we love penguins! We have reviewed several books about them before!

C: I didn’t know it was nonfiction before we read more about it on Wikipedia.

S: Does that change your opinion of the book?

C: It makes me like it more. I like real stuff. I also love real penguins!

S: Would you have liked to have received a penguin in the mail like Mr. Popper did in the book Marshmallow reviewed a few days ago?

C: If it listened to me, yes. And it shouldn’t smash me, they can be heavy you know.

S: Oh yes, apparently an emperor penguin can be as heavy as 99 pounds! But chinstrap penguins are much lighter. Wikipedia says they usually weigh around 7 to 10 pounds.

C: Ok, then I could like a chinstrap penguin. But I’d not want it to peck me.

S: Yes, that could possibly hurt. But they are so cute, aren’t they?

C: They’re adorable, especially when they are babies. Grownups are still adorable too.

S: I am thinking it is time for us to wrap up our review Caramel. Will you say your last words as usual?

C: Of course! Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel has enjoyed reading And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole.
Caramel has enjoyed reading And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole.