Caramel reviews Colette’s Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault

Caramel reviewed Isabelle Arsenault’s Albert’s Quiet Quest last week. This week he wanted to review the first book in the Mile End Kids series: Colette’s Lost Pet. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Colette's Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault.
Caramel reviews Colette’s Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault.

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

Caramel: If you like birds this might be a good book for you.

S: Now you’re channeling Marshmallow! What do you mean?

C: Colette’s supposedly lost pet is a giant parakeet.

S: Wait, wait! Who is Colette? And does she have a giant parakeet?

C: Nope she doesn’t. She’s lying. To get friends.

S: Hmm, so you think she is lying to get friends? But that doesn’t sound like such a great idea…

C: I know. But she says something and then it grows into this big story about a giant parakeet. An elaborate lie.

S: That’s a big word for a little bunny Caramel! Yes, the story does get more and more elaborate as Colette meets more and more kids on the Mile End neighborhood. Right?

C: Yup. I think she just wants a pet, just like Marshmallow. And in the beginning her mom says:

“No Colette! For the last time NO PET!”

S: So Colette goes out and tries to meet the kids in her new neighborhood. And do you think the kids believe she has a giant parakeet?

C: I don’t know. The story does get a little bit too elaborate in some parts.

Caramel is pointing at a particularly spectacular page where Colette is telling her elaborate story about her non-existent parakeet.
Caramel is pointing at a particularly spectacular page where Colette is telling her elaborate story about her non-existent parakeet.

S: So a bit too unbelievable, right?

C: Yup. At some point she says her parakeet can surf!

S: Well, she doesn’t quite say that, but the picture she draws leads the kids to decide the bird can surf, and she doesn’t deny it. Right?

C: Yes. But the kids are having a lot of fun. I think they actually think that she has a ginormous parakeet. Or at least they want to believe that.

S: Kind of like in Albert’s Quiet Quest where Albert wants to believe he is on a beach, right?

C: Yes. These kids have big imaginations.

S: Like you, Caramel! You too dream of big strange things.

C: Yeah. Like ginormous dragons, and other mythical creatures that I dream up.

S: Yes. So how else is this book connected to the one we read last week?

C: Well, this book is not as orange and blue as the other one, but it is yellow and gray. Though there are some tiny specs of blue here and there too.

S: Yes, the pages display only a few simple colors again, right? What else?

C: Colette appears in that other book too. And Albert shows up in this one!

S: Yes, these are both stories about the kids living in a neighborhood named Mile End. Wikipedia tells us that there is a Mile End neighborhood in London and another in Montreal. The one these books are about should be the one in Montreal, because according to the back cover notes about her, the author / illustrator Isabelle Arsenault lives there.

C: But it does not really matter. These are good books anyways, no matter where they’re supposed to be. And they are about kids everywhere, playing.

S: And being imaginative and just being kids themselves.

C: Yes. And this is a good place to wrap up our review.

S: I agree. And what do you want to say now?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny adventures!

Caramel enjoyed reading Colette's Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault.
Caramel enjoyed reading Colette’s Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault.

Marshmallow reviews The Silver Chair (Book 4 of the Chronicles of Narnia) by C. S. Lewis

The book bunny family has spent several happy hours listening to C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books in the publishing order these last few months. Marshmallow was ahead of us of course, and she had already read them all before we had even begun listening. Below she writes about the fourth book (sixth in the chronological order): The Silver Chair.

Marshmallow reviews The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis.
Marshmallow reviews The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you liked the first three Narnia books (or five, depending on which order you’re reading them in), then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): While at school, Eustace Scrubb describes to Jill Pole the magical land of Narnia, which he had visited in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (book 3 in the publishing order). When bullies at school start to chase them, Eustace and Jill run into a shed to escape them. They open the shed door and inside the shed there is a beautiful land. They find themselves on the top of a very, very, VERY tall cliff. It is so high that the clouds are way below it. Eustace is scared of being so high up. (I would be scared too.) Jill, though, cannot see the bottom, so she scoffs at Eustace and says that he is a scaredy-rabbit. She then goes to the edge of the cliff to show off that she is not scared and looks down. Eustace tries to pull her away from the edge of the cliff, but she shoves him away and accidentally pushes him off the cliff. Immediately a lion comes and starts blowing at him so Eustace’s flight is smoother. The lion later tells Jill that he has blown him to Narnia.

When the lion leaves, Jill starts crying. Then she realizes that she is very thirsty. She finds a stream, but next to the stream there is a lion again. She is scared that the lion will eat her, but she is very thirsty. The lion then says that if she is thirsty then she should come and drink. She asks if he will promise not to eat her. The lion says that he makes no promises. Then she asks if he will move away while she is drinking from the stream. He says nothing but Jill thinks that he will not. In the end, Jill still decides that she has to drink water and she drinks from the spring. Then the lion explains their quest to Jill.

The lion explains that Prince Rilian of Narnia, the one and only son and heir to the throne of Caspian the Tenth or Caspian the Seafarer, disappeared while hunting for the giant snake that stung and killed his mother, the queen. Their mission is to find the prince and bring him to his father. Can they succeed?

Marshmallow is pointing at Pauline Baynes' illustration of Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle, a character from The Silver Chair.
Marshmallow is pointing at Pauline Baynes’ illustration of Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle, a character from The Silver Chair.

Marshmallow’s review: This is my favorite Narnia book. It is an old classic and its age shows a bit. For example, Jill cries a little bit too much; I just didn’t like how she was portrayed. But she at least does know a lot of stuff; I liked her more than Lucy and Susan, the other main female characters in the Narnia books. 

Otherwise, this is a good book overall. The story is well told and well written. The plot is very successful and intriguing. I think someone who has not read any of the other Narnia books might still enjoy reading this book, but of course the back stories of the main characters add to one’s understanding of the whole story.

Marshmallow’s rating: 90%.

Marshmallow rates C. S. Lewis' The Silver Chair 90%.
Marshmallow rates C. S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair 90%.

Caramel reviews Albert’s Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault

Caramel has recently gotten his paws on a few books by Isabelle Arsenault. Below he reviews Albert’s Quiet Quest. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Albert's Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault.
Caramel reviews Albert’s Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, what is this book about?

Caramel: It’s about a boy named Albert who wants to read a book. And inside of his house is too noisy so he goes out to find a quiet place to read.

S: That sounds like our home sometimes, right? We do make a lot of noise.

C: Yeah. We are noisy bunnies.

S: So this Albert wants to find a quiet place to read. Have you ever felt like that yourself?

C: Yep. Sometimes when I am trying to calm myself down, I want it to be quiet.

S: But it is not always quiet, right? So you could totally appreciate how Albert must have felt.

C: Yep. So he goes out and looks for a place to read.

S: Does he find it?

C: Yes. He goes to an alley way and finds a painting of a beach.

S: Then he pulls a chair to sit across from the painting and dreams that he is on that beach, right?

C: Yep.

S: What happens then? Can he read in peace and quiet?

C: No not really. Many friends come by and ask him to help them. They ask him to play with them and so on.

Caramel is looking at the page when things get a little too noisy on Albert's "beach".
Caramel is looking at the page when things get a little too noisy on Albert’s “beach”.

S: So he gets kind of mad at them, right?

C: Yes. He screams: “That’s it! Quiet! For Pete’s sake, can’t someone read a book around here or what?!”

Caramel is looking at the page when Albert loses his cool.
Caramel is looking at the page when Albert loses his cool.

S: Hmm, that is not terribly nice, is it? He is understandably upset but he doesn’t need to scream at people.

C: Ah, Sprinkles. This sounds like somebody familiar. You too sometimes get pretty annoyed and scream!

S: Hmm. So I do. It is hard to keep one’s cool sometimes, right?

C: Yep. I get mad too sometimes.

S: Well, that’s kind of why we read all those books about training your angry dragon, right?

C: Yes.

S: What happens to Albert afterwards?

C: His friends get mad at him too. And then they all laugh together.

S: So this is a happy end, right?

C: Yes.

S: So did you like the book?

C: Yep. It’s a good book. It is kind of like a comic book, but the pictures are more like drawing than comics.

S: The color scheme is also very distinctive. All blues and oranges and grays and whites.

C: It’s mostly white. And orange is my favorite color. It’s awesome!

S: So you liked the pictures too, right?

C: Yes. I really liked the part where he is thinking of the beach.

S: Yes, he looks so calm and peaceful there.

C: Yes, he puts his hands behind his head and he is smiling. It’s like he is saying: “This is the life!”

S: Yes! You’re right.

C: And this is our life. And it is time to say: “Stay tuned for more book bunny adventures!”

Caramel really enjoyed reading Albert's Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault.
Caramel really enjoyed reading Albert’s Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault.

Marshmallow reviews In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton

Marshmallow has finally gotten into the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton, which used to be a favorite of Sprinkles when she was a young bunny. In the review below Marshmallow reviews the fifth book of the series: In the Fifth at Malory Towers. As a change, this time Sprinkles is involved, too. Let us see how this one goes.

Marshmallow reviews In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.
Marshmallow reviews In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.

Sprinkles: So Marshmallow I have been seeing you reading the Malory Towers books over and over in these last few days.

Marshmallow: Yeah, I have been reading them, that’s true.

S: Can you tell our readers what these books are all about?

M: They are about some British girls going to a school called Malory Towers. Malory Towers is a boarding school for girls only.

S: The school is for six year and there is one book for each year, right?

M: Yes. Each year, there are multiple problems that come up and we see the girls grow up as they go through all that. Though some of them don’t seem to get more mature. They don’t seem to get nicer.

S: Yes, there is a specific mean character, you mean?

M: Yes. She’s spiteful, cunning, and sly. She’s also conceited; she thinks she’s great.

S: You’re talking about Gwendoline, right?

M: Yes, Gwendoline Mary Lacey. And she lies to her parents, too, telling them that she is good at everything.

S: Ok, let us talk about the more pleasant characters. Tell us about some of them.

M: Darrell Rivers is the main character. And her best friend is Sally Hope.

S: They are both good kids, right?

M: Well. Darrell has some anger issues. At least in the earlier books.

S: Then she should read Caramel’s review of Train Your Angry Dragon, right?

M: That might not be good enough. She needs to read the book! Anyways, Sally also is not perfect. She gets jealous sometimes. But overall they are, as you say, good kids. Actually most of the characters have some serious flaws.

S: But isn’t that quite natural? No bunny is perfect.

M: Yes I suppose that’s true. And maybe that makes the book more realistic.

S: Ok, now it is probably time that we start talking about the fifth book. Why did you want to talk about this one more specifically?

M: This one is my favorite. It’s interesting to see how all the talents and strengths of the girls come together to create something, the Christmas show.

S: You and your classmates often do school plays, right?

M: Yes we do at least one play every other year.

S: That does take a lot of group effort and practice.

M. Right. But in this book there are also other problems that the girls have to face. Moira and Alicia get really mad at each other for instance and Alicia quits. Then Alicia’s cousin June gets mad at Moira and starts writing poison pen letters.

S: That’s an interesting phrase Marshmallow. What does poison pen letter mean?

M: I had not heard of it before reading this book but Wikipedia has a brief description.

S: That’s really mean, right? To send spiteful and anonymous letters to people to hurt them?

M: Yes, that’s really mean. In the end June is punished for it. But let us not spoil the book for the readers. Maybe this is a good place to stop?

S: Yes, I think we gave them some good teasers so they can follow up with the threads themselves. Thanks for the chat Marshmallow.

M: Yay! I get to say it this time: Stay tuned for more reviews from the Book Bunnies!

Marshmallow enjoyed reading In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.
Marshmallow enjoyed reading In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.