Caramel reviews Drawn Together by Minh Le and Dan Santat

Caramel reviews Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.

Caramel has reviewed The Cookie Fiasco and Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat before and enjoyed his quirky style. Today he reviews another book illustrated by Dan Santat: Drawn Together, written by Minh Le. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.
Caramel reviews Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, tell me about this book.

Caramel: It is a very interesting book about this boy. He doesn’t really like his grandfather.

S: Or at least we know he doesn’t seem to enjoy spending time with him. Right?

C: Yes.

S: Why is that?

C: He thinks that time with him is boring.

S: How so?

C: They eat different things. The boy is eating hot dog with mustard. and the grandfather is eating noodles and eggs.

S: So they are eating different things. But there is a bigger problem, right? Can they communicate?

C: No. They speak different languages.

S: Yes, the boy speaks English and the grandfather seems to only speak Thai. That might make things difficult, right?

C: Yes.

S: You are lucky that you can communicate with your grandfather, but this boy’s grandfather seems to have difficulty speaking English. So they watch TV. How does that turn out?

C: The boy asks “Can we watch something else?” So he is bored.

S: Yes, so they don’t enjoy the same food and they don’t enjoy the same TV programs. That is sad a bit, right? You do like watching TV with your grandpa.

C: Yep, I sure do!

Caramel is looking at the front cover of Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.
Caramel is looking at the front cover of Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.

S: So the boy is staying with his grandfather and is bored because he cannot communicate with him and he doesn’t think they have anything in common. Then what happens?

C: The boy takes some crayons out of his backpack and starts drawing. Then the grandfather takes out a sketch pad and a brush. It looks old fashioned but he can draw amazing things with it.

S: Yes, the things he can draw are very intricate, very detailed, right?

C: Yes. And I am surprised that this book is illustrated by Dan Santat, because the drawings don’t look like the ones in his other books I reviewed: The Cookie Fiasco and Harold and Hog Pretend for Real!

S: Well, that shows that he is a versatile illustrator, right? He can draw things in many different styles.

C: Yes, he can draw amazing things! He draws awesome dragons!

S: Yes apparently Thai dragons, like Chinese and Japanese dragons, are magical and have super powers. We saw some impressive images on Google. And the dragons in this book are just as amazing!

C: Yes. And then the boy and his grandfather start making art together. And the boy has color but his grandfather’s brush is one color only. But when they paint together, they both have colors.

Caramel is pointing to some of the artwork that the boy and his grandpa create together in  Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.
Caramel is pointing to some of the artwork that the boy and his grandpa create together in Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.

S: So what happens in the end?

C: They hug.

S: So even though they cannot communicate by talking …

C: They can communicate by hugging…

S: And by drawing! And when the boy’s mom comes to pick him up, it seems like the boy won’t be bored next time, right?

C: Right.

S: So did you like the book?

C: Yeah. It has bright colors and amazing drawings.

S: And a sweet story! So it is time to wrap up this review. What do you want to say Caramel?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel enjoyed reading Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.
Caramel enjoyed reading Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.

Marshmallow reviews To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Marshmallow reviews To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.

Marshmallow has begun to read To Night Owl From Dogfish a few weeks ago and finally today she is ready to share her thoughts about it with the readers of the Book Bunnies blog. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Marshmallow reviews To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.
Marshmallow reviews To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.

Sprinkles: Can you tell us a bit about this book Marshmallow?

Marshmallow: Sure, let me give you a brief summary first.

One day, Avery Allenberry Bloom gets an email from a girl named Bett Garcia Devlin. The email says that she has a gay dad just like Avery and that their fathers are now in love.

Avery does not believe Bett at first and thinks that she is lying. Then Bett says that they are both supposed to be going to a sleepover camp called CIGI. And while they are at the camp, the fathers will be in China. Avery knows that she is going to that camp, and so she starts to believe Bett.

The girls are both alarmed because they do not want to one day be sisters. But at camp they meet face to face for the first time and they start to become friends and they actually start wanting their parents to get married. But then the two fathers break up and things get messy.

S: This sounds a lot like The Parent Trap, an old movie by Hayley Mills. You probably have not seen that movie, but in that movie too, there are two girls who want to get their parents together. Actually it turns out that the two girls are actually twins and the parents are both their parents. Bett and Avery aren’t twins though, of course, right?

M: No they’re not.

Marshmallow is reading To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.
Marshmallow is reading To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.

S: So what else happens in the book? Are the girls at the camp for the rest of the book?

M: No. Actually they get kicked out of the camp, and they go stay with Avery’s biological mom. Then Avery’s father gets mad at the mother and then decides to come back from China early.

S: Is that when the two fathers break up?

M: Yes. And the rest of the book is more or less all about the girls trying to set things right.

S: That sounds interesting.

M: They do go to a lot of other places in the book.

S: The whole book seems like it is a collection of letters and emails, right? There seem to be no standard narrative segments.

M: Yes, that’s true. It is an interesting feature of the book. The whole story is written as a series of letters, emails, and text messages.

S: That sounds strange. How did it work for you?

M: It was very interesting to read a book written like this.

S: Did it ever get confusing? Were you always aware of who was writing?

M: Yes because on the top corner of each letter, there was the sender and recipient information, and the subject line, like in an email.

S: That is neat! So who is the Night Owl and who is Dogfish?

M: Night Owl is Avery and Dogfish is Bett.

S: Why?

M: In one text, Bett asks Avery what animal she would be if she were an animal. Avery says she’d be a night owl because she reads a lot at night. And Bett responds that she would be Dogfish, because she loves swimming and she loves her dog.

S: So would you recommend this book to other bunnies?

M: Yes, this is a very good read. This would be a good book for people who like reading about friendship. An interesting thread in the book is about how the two girls don’t want their fathers to be a couple at first but eventually they start enjoying each other’s company and their opinions change.

S: This looks to me like a good place to wrap up this review. Is there anything you want to say to finish things off Marshmallow?

M: Yes! Happy reading! And stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Marshmallow rates To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer 95%.
Marshmallow rates To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer 95%.

Caramel reviews The Hidden Kingdom (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes

Caramel reviews the graphic novel version of The Hidden Kingdom (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland (with art work by Mike Holmes).

Caramel has already reviewed the graphic novel versions of the first two books of Tui Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series. (See Caramel’s review of The Dragonet Prophesy here; his review of The Lost Heir is here.) Today he reviews the third book in the series that appeared as a graphic novel: The Hidden Kingdom (adapted by Barry Deutsch and Rachel Swirsky, art work by Mike Holmes, color by Maarta Laiho). As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions as needed.

Caramel reviews The Hidden Kingdom (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.
Caramel reviews The Hidden Kingdom (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.

Sprinkles: So this is the third book of the series you have read, right, Caramel?

Caramel: Yes. But I am not done. I’m still keeping busy flipping through the pages.

S: But you have read it at least once all the way, right?

C: Yes, I have. But I like reading these books over and over again.

S: Why is that?

C: I think these Wings of Fire books are really awesome. I love the pictures, the books are really very colorful.

Caramel enjoys reading and also looking at the pictures of The Hidden Kingdom, (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.
Caramel enjoys reading and also looking at the pictures of The Hidden Kingdom, (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.

S: What about the story? What is happening in this third book?

C: All of the books are about the five dragons we met in the first book. But of course there are always some new characters.

S: Tell me more. Who is the central character of this book?

C: Glory. She is a RainWing. They are supposed to be lazy and almost stupid, but Glory is smart. RainWings have venom, and can camouflage. They can also turn invisible.

S: So what is happening to Glory in this book? Is she also destined to be the queen of her tribe, like Tsunami from the second book?

C: She is.

S: So is trouble awaiting her when she comes home, like it did Tsunami?

C: Yes and no. Not quite trouble but there are some challenges she has to face.

S: Like what?

C: She has to find a specific flower in a flower hunt. They go through these challenges in teams.

S: So does Glory also make some good friends along the way?

C: Yes. Glory makes at least two good friends. One of them is Kinkajou, who is at some point in this book kidnapped, but they eventually find her. And another new friend is Mangrove. He is grumpy at first because his partner is missing.

S: So some RainWings are going missing. And Glory and her friends try to find them, right?

C: No, Glory has to do it alone. And she has another friend, too. I forgot. Her name is Tamarin. She is blind, but she wins the flower hunt. She has a very good sense of smell.

S: These books seem like a lot is going on in each of them. Lots of action, lots of mystery, right?

C: Yup. Do you want me to tell you who is kidnapping the RainWings?

S: No! We should not spoil it for our readers!

C: Well, ok. Then I guess we can just wrap things up. Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel is still reading and rereading The Hidden Kingdom (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.
Caramel is still reading and rereading The Hidden Kingdom (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.

Marshmallow reviews The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd

Marshmallow reviews The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd.

Marshmallow often enjoys reading books about young people with interesting powers. Today she reviews The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd.

Marshmallow reviews The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd.
Marshmallow reviews The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about magic and fate, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): Emma Pearl Casey is part of a unique family. Every girl in her family has a Destiny Dream, in which they see what their purpose in life is and what their mark in history will be. The Destiny Dreams appear to them, and then they follow their destiny. 

“For Emma, her own Destiny Dream can’t come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she’d do whatever it took to fulfill her Destiny, and she doesn’t want to let her mother down.”

https://natalielloyd.com/books/the-key-to-extraordinary/

In her Destiny Dream, Emma sees a field of flowers. In the middle of the field there is a bundle of flowers, a violet, a daisy, and a rose. In the bundle she sees a key. Different people see different things in their Destiny Dreams. For example, Daphne Prescott, another member of her family, saw in the field of blue flowers a mirror, and in the mirror, she saw herself holding a sign saying, “WOMEN GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE!” and an American flag. 

The Destiny Dreams do not come at a certain age. Daphne Prescott got her dream when she was seventy-four, and Emma has hers when she is twelve. 

Some Destiny Dreams are clearer than others. Emma’s is confusing.  

Emma lives next to a graveyard and her family owns a café, called Boneyard Café. They are famous for a special drink called the Boneyard Brew. It has the mysterious ability to make people feel hopeful. The secret magical ingredient is revealed before the end of the book. 

While Emma is trying to make sense of her mysterious dream, a man named Warren Steele comes to buy their town. Eventually she realizes that her destiny is to find the Conductor’s treasure, and I can’t tell you what that is without spoiling things. The bad news is that Warren Steele also wants the treasure. 

Who do you think will get it first? And what is the treasure? 

Marshmallow is reading The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd.
Marshmallow is reading The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd.

Marshmallow’s review: This is an interesting book. It is a little eerie and is sort of scary, but it is still a good book. I think that it is more appropriate for kids eight and up because it is a little confusing at times. But all in all, it is a great read. 

I like this book because it has an interesting plot and has interesting events. In the book they sometimes have Gypsy Rose summers. Apparently, these occur very rarely. In a Gypsy Rose summer, rose petals start to fall from the sky. The theory in the book is that the spirits are trying to get the people’s attention. (This is not a real phenomenon, nor is it a known legend. I looked it up.)

The author Natalie Lloyd did a good job of making the book an exciting read that will make everyone wonder what the treasure of the Conductor is and who the Conductor is to begin with. 

Happy Reading!

Marshmallow’s rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd 95%.