Marshmallow reviews Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

The book bunny household has enjoyed almost every book they read of Kate DiCamillo. Today Marshmallow reviews one of her favorites: Flora and Ulysses.

Marshmallow reviews Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.
Marshmallow reviews Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you liked reading any other book by Kate DiCamillo, such as Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and  Mercy Watson, or if you like books about unexpected friendships, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): “Cynic” Flora Belle Buckman’s knowledge is put to the test when her neighbor runs over a squirrel with a vacuum. She knows a lot of things about tumors and other things that can go wrong in life. But one thing that she has yet to learn is how to perform CPR on a squirrel. Which is exactly what she does.

While the vacuum is about to suck up the squirrel, his only thought is, “FOOD!” Not, “I don’t want to die!” or “This is the end.” As the squirrel is waking up, he hears a voice, Flora’s, saying, “Breathe!” And so he does.

When he wakes up he is a different squirrel. And he is very, VERY hungry. So Flora sneaks him into her house. And she names him Ulysses after the vacuum that sucked him up (the Ulysses 2000X).

When Flora and her mother go to sleep, Ulysses goes and raids the pantry and then starts to type on Flora’s mother’s typewriter. He writes: 

“Squirtel! I am. Ulysses. Born anew.”          

Flora’s mother gets upset because she doesn’t know about Ulysses, and so she thinks that Flora typed it. When she eventually finds out about Ulysses, she tells Flora’s dad (they are divorced), to put Ulysses in a sack, then hit Ulysses on the head with a shovel (which will “put him out of his misery”), and then bury him with the shovel.

When Flora hears about this plan, she gets very upset. She is not only upset that her mother could be so cruel to a squirrel but also because she is upset about Mary Ann, her mother’s lamp. Flora’s mother says that she loves Mary Ann with all her heart even though she never says that about Flora. Flora is understandably upset, but she tries to ignore it by saying that she is a cynic and she doesn’t care, but she actually really does. 

Marshmallow is reading Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.
Marshmallow is reading Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.

Marshmallow’s Review: This book is both heartwarming and funny. Kate DiCamillo did a very good job of writing a funny book that can also make the reader happier.

Flora and Ulysses has a lot of interesting characters. For example, Ulysses the squirrel is a very interesting character and it is very funny how his only thought before he got sucked up by the vacuum and became smarter was, “FOOD!” Flora is also a very interesting character. She likes reading Incandesto, a comic book about a janitor who fell into a large pool of a cleaning liquid and became a superhero. And Flora really likes reading the comic strip that is at the end of every Incandesto book, called Terrible Things Can Happen to You! which is how she determines that she is a cynic. 

 Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo 100%.
Marshmallow rates Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo 100%.

Caramel reviews Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House #8) by Mary Pope Osborne

Caramel is on a roll reading Magic Tree House books! He has already reviewed for Magic Tree House books for the book bunnies blog: Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House #5), Afternoon on the Amazon (Magic Tree House #6), Knights and Castles (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #2), and Sunset of the Sabertooth (Magic Tree House #7). Today he shares with us his thoughts on Book #8: Midnight on the Moon. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House #8) by Mary Pope Osborne.
Caramel reviews Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House #8) by Mary Pope Osborne.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, what are Jack and Annie up to in this book?

Caramel: They are going to the moon. The title says so. And the cover picture.

S: So why do they go to the moon?

C: Because that is where they will find the fourth thing so that they can help their friend Morgan.

S: Do they find what they need?

C: Yup.

S: Ok, you probably should not tell us what happens when they find all four things.

C: I’ll tell you what happens: Morgan comes back!

S: So they save her! That is great! But tell me more about the moon.

C: They meet a space person there.

S: So there is a man on the moon?

C: Yes.

S: How so? There are no people on the moon right now.

C: There is a moon base and it is past 2031. They traveled ahead in time!

S: Oh that is cool! In many of the previous books they went back in time. Now they go ahead. There is no moon base right now.

C: There isn’t but there might be one in 2031..

S: That is true. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on a moon base? Or to live in a space station?

Caramel is reading Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House #8) by Mary Pope Osborne.
Caramel is reading Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House #8) by Mary Pope Osborne.

C: I don’t know. It might not be that great!

S: Well, there are astronauts who live on the international space station (ISS) circling the Earth right now. If you want to check it out, here is the link to who is on the space station right now. As we are writing this post, there are three.

C: They live there?

S: Well, they stay there for long periods of time and then come back to Earth.

C: I don’t really want to leave Earth. I like it here. I never ever want to leave!

S: I can understand that. But it does seem very interesting, doesn’t it? And Jack and Annie spend only a little bit of time on this moon base, so maybe that kind of a short trip could be nice.

C: No!

S: I don’t know. I would have liked to see the Earth rising

C: That does look nice!

S: I know. But you are right. This planet is our home. And it is perfectly natural not to want to leave it… So what else do you want to say about this book? Now that the mystery about Morgan has been resolved, do you think you will continue with the series?

C: Probably.

S: Why?

C: Because it is interesting. I want to see what else Jack and Annie will do.

S: That is great! We then have a lot more adventures of these two kids to read!

C: Yes! Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House #8) by Mary Pope Osborne, and recommends it to all little bunnies.

Marshmallow reviews The Unteachables by Gordon Korman

Marshmallow enjoys reading books about school and friendship. She has already reviewed Blubber by Judy Blume, In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton, and Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins for the book bunnies blog. This week she reviews Gordon Korman’s The Unteachables., published first in 2019.

Marshmallow reviews The Untechables by Gordon Korman.
Marshmallow reviews The Untechables by Gordon Korman.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about school and friendship, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Kiana Roubini is living with her father and stepmother Louise while her mother is producing a movie. The book starts with Louise driving Kiana to her new school to register her for the year. But then, Kiana’s baby brother starts crying and her stepmom, who she rudely calls “Stepmonster” (in her mind), has to go back to their house, telling Kiana that they will be back soon.

Kiana waits for a long time and Louise does not come back. So Kiana decides that she will register herself. The school registration office is very busy and Kiana ends up with someone else’s class schedule. The room number the person is assigned to is 117.

When Kiana asks another student for directions, he seems friendly at first, but the second that he hears that she is in room 117, he quickly leaves. When she finds her way to “her” class, she finds that her fellow pupils are roasting marshmallows on pencils and eating them. (eek! why would anyone want to eat me! oh, okay, let’s continue.) Then she meets her teacher: Mr. Kermit is sitting at his desk solving crossword puzzles from the newspaper while his students wreak havoc upon the classroom. 

The students in room 117 are not there to learn. All that they do is worksheets that their teacher doesn’t even grade. They were all separated from the rest of the children from the district because they are supposed to be unintelligent and unable to learn and so they just sit in the room and mess around. They are supposed to be misfits and delinquents. But soon, Kiana learns that they are actually pretty nice. She also learns more about Mr. Kermit and what made him seem so cold and distant.

You need to read the book to learn more!

Marshmallow is reading The Unteachables by Gordon Korman.
Marshmallow is reading The Unteachables by Gordon Korman.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a very interesting book. It is very sad how all of the kids were removed from the “normal” classes and put in room 117. It is sad because they are actually the same as the rest of the kids. They all want to make friends, they want to learn, and they need adults to trust that they can actually learn.

My favorite thing in the book is the “Toilet Bowl”. That is Mr. Kermit’s coffee cup. It is huge! In one of the chapters narrated by Mr. Kermit, he says:

“I need coffee. I cheer myself up by picturing the Toilet Bowl on the shelf in the faculty lounge, dwarfing all the lesser mugs.”

Each chapter is narrated by a different character, and I think that it is very interesting that the author chose to do that. It is also very interesting that we hear the views of a lot of people, not only the views of the main characters, but also the views of the enemies of Mr. Kermit and class 117. 

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.     

Marshmallow rates The Untechables by Gordon Korman 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Untechables by Gordon Korman 100%.

Caramel reviews Sunset of the Sabertooth (Magic Tree House #7) by Mary Pope Osborne

Caramel has already reviewed three Magic Tree House books for the book bunnies blog: Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House #5), Afternoon on the Amazon (Magic Tree House #6), and Knights and Castles (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #2). Today he shares with us his thoughts on Book #7: Sunset of the Sabertooth. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Sunset of the Sabertooth (Magic Tree House #7) by Mary Pope Osborne.
Caramel reviews Sunset of the Sabertooth (Magic Tree House #7) by Mary Pope Osborne.

Sprinkles: Caramel tell us about this book. Let us assume readers already know …

Caramel: about the magic tree house and our previous reviews.

S: Yes, we put a link to each of your reviews of magic tree house books above. So this book also takes us to an adventure with Jack and Annie to somewhere new.

C: And it takes us to a different time.

S: Ok, tell us about this different time.

C: It is the ice age. There are sabertooths around.

S: Hmm, saber-toothed cats, according to Wikipedia, were “predatory mammals that are characterized by long, curved saber-shaped canine teeth which protruded from the mouth even when closed”. So their canine teeth looked like sabers, very sharp swords. And all saber-tooth mammals went extinct around 9000 years ago. So Jack and Annie must have gone back in time quite a bit!

C: Yes! But in the first Magic Tree House book Dinosaurs Before Dark, they had gone back to the time of the dinosaurs, so this is a bit closer to now.

S: So what happens in the time of the sabertooth? Why are Jack and Annie there?

C: They’re still trying to save their friend Morgan Le Fay, just like in the last two books. In the fifth book (Night of the Ninjas), a ninja gave them a moonstone. In the sixth book (Afternoon on the Amazon), a monkey gave them a mango. And in this one the Master of the Animals gives them a third item.

S: And they look at some cave paintings, don’t they?

C: They do. And that is where they see the picture of the Master of the Animals. But Sprinkles, we just took a virtual tour of one such cave in France!

S: Yes we sure did. Here is the Wikipedia link to Lascaux, and the link we used to go on this virtual tour. Did you enjoy taking the tour?

C: Yep. It actually felt like we were flying through the cave. And I really felt like I was inside the cave.

S: Yes, I thought the tour was really well made too. The drawings were quite striking, bright and visible.

C: They were awesome!

Caramel is reading Sunset of the Sabertooth (Magic Tree House #7) by Mary Pope Osborne.
Caramel is reading Sunset of the Sabertooth (Magic Tree House #7) by Mary Pope Osborne.

C: Let us talk more about the book.

S: Yes, good idea! What more do you want to say about the book?

C: Jack and Annie ride on a mammoth!

S: A friendly mammoth I hope?

C: It is! It took them back to the tree house.

S: So do you think you will read the next book in the series?

C: Yep. I want to know how they will save Morgan.

S: You are sure they will save her?

C: Yes, they already found three of the four things they need. So I’m positive about it.

S: Sounds good to me! So let us wrap this review up.

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

Caramel has enjoyed reading Sunset of the Sabertooth (Magic Tree House #7) by Mary Pope Osborne, and recommends it to all bunnies who love to read about Jack and Annie's adventures with the magic tree house.
Caramel has enjoyed reading Sunset of the Sabertooth (Magic Tree House #7) by Mary Pope Osborne, and recommends it to all bunnies who love to read about Jack and Annie’s adventures with the magic tree house.