Marshmallow reviews Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs

Marshmallow has already reviewed a book in Stuart Gibbs’ Teddy Fitzroy / FunJungle series: see her review of Belly Up, the first book of the series. Today she reviews the fourth book: Panda-monium.

Marshmallow reviews Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs, the fourth book in the FunJungle series.
Marshmallow reviews Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs, the fourth book in the FunJungle series.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you liked Belly Up or any of the other books by Stuart Gibbs (or if you just enjoy a good mystery), then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Teddy Fitzroy lives in FunJungle, the world’s most elaborate zoo, owned by the billionaire J.J. McCracken. Living in FunJungle is not boring but it is dangerous. First Henry Hippo is murdered (see my review of the first book of the series where this happens), then Kazoo the Koala is koala-napped (in the second book), and then someone tries to kill the park’s rhinos (in the third book). Now, the most expensive animal that the zoo features, the giant panda Li Ping, gets kidnapped.

This is a big deal and the FBI steps in. Since the Chinese government lent Li Ping to J.J. McCracken, when he loses the panda he not only has to deal with the angry Chinese government but also the many people who wanted to see Li Ping. The guard who accompanied Li Ping, Marge O’Malley (who Teddy calls Large Marge because she is determined to send him to juvenile hall), is blamed. To make matters worse her sister who works in the FBI works on the case. Large Marge is determined to solve this case first, and since Teddy has a record of solving crimes (see FunJungle books), she blackmails him into solving the case. As he learns more and more, it becomes clear that not everyone is as innocent as they look.

Marshmallow is reading Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs, the fourth book in the FunJungle series.
Marshmallow is reading Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs, the fourth book in the FunJungle series.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is not your standard mystery book. It is a book that makes you want to find out who committed the crime so much that you will want to skip to the end.

This one is like the other books in the FunJungle series in the way that it is very suspenseful. There are many suspects but you don’t know who the real culprit is.

Though the book has no pictures, Stuart Gibbs puts an image in your mind. When you read his books, it seems like you know the characters. You admire Teddy Fitzroy and Summer McCracken, J.J. McCracken’s daughter, for their incredible detective skills and have a natural suspicion of Large Marge.

Gibbs does a great job of writing these stories that only Fitzroy could solve. In the end, you realize that all of the clues were in front of you the whole time but you never thought of it that way. J.J. McCracken’s character is interesting because he is very sly and sometimes seems to be nice but then sometimes he is not. The plot is very well written.

Panda-monium is as good as the previous books in terms of the suspense and the plot. And it is one of the funniest books in the series.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs, the fourth book in the FunJungle series, 100%.
Marshmallow rates Panda-monium by Stuart Gibbs, the fourth book in the FunJungle series, 100%.

Caramel reviews The Crayons’ Christmas by Drew Daywalt

Both Marshmallow and Caramel loved The Day The Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. They alos very much enjoyed reading The Day The Crayons Came Home. But neither of them got around to reviewing either of the books just yet for the book bunnies blog. But the crayons are forgotten no more! Today Caramel reviews the third book in this amusing series: The Crayons’ Christmas. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Crayons' Christmas, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.
Caramel reviews The Crayons’ Christmas, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, what is this book about?

Caramel: This book is about the crayons in Duncan’s house and a candy cane that wants desperately to be eaten.

S: Wait, you need to tell our readers who Duncan is.

C: Duncan is a boy. We read about him in the other crayons books. The crayons are his.

S: So what about this candy cane? Why does it want to get eaten?

C: Because it is extremely old and it is supposed to be eaten, not put on Christmas trees!

S: So it wants to live the life it is meant to live in some sense, right?

C: Sort of.

S: So what happens in this book?

C: It’s Christmas time, and the crayons keep on getting postcards, or boxes, or games.

S: Kind of like you, right? You got this book for Christmas.

C: Yes, I did. I was so happy to get my paws on another book!

S: This is not just a book, though, right? The letters and such for the crayons are all on separate pages, inside envelopes. And you get to open them and read the cards inside.

C: Yes. It’s awesome! It is really fun to read the cards. And there is even a game in one of the packages.

Caramel is reading The Crayons' Christmas, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.
Caramel is reading The Crayons’ Christmas, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.

S: What is it called?

C: Let me see. Ok, I found it. It’s called The Great Crayon Race.

S: Did you play it yet?

C: No. Can we play it today?

S: Maybe. Right after we finish the post.

C: Ok.

S: Do you think this was a good Christmas gift?

C: Yes. It’s a nice book, and if you have lots of crayons, then it is fun to think of them as people.

S: Yes, people with distinct characters. And strange things have happened to them in the earlier books.

C: Yes, for example the peach crayon is naked because Duncan pulled off his wrapper. And in this one, the peach crayon receives a card from his mom, and she writes “Oh Peachy-Pie! You always were my shy one, so I’ve sent you some clothes! Now you can give Duncan back his underwear! Have fun playing dress-up, my naked baby, and Merry Christmas! Love, Mom.”

S: That is funny! And it is neat that the threads from the other books come up here too.

C: Yes. The orange crayon and the yellow crayon are still fighting in this book too!

S: That is funny too! Ok, maybe it is time to wrap this up?

C: Sure. Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel really enjoyed reading and exploring all the goodies within The Crayons' Christmas, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.
Caramel really enjoyed reading and exploring all the goodies within The Crayons’ Christmas, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.

Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel by Rey Terciero

Having already reviewed the original (unabridged) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Marshmallow recently read a modern retelling of the story: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo. Below she shares her thoughts on this book.

Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo.
Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women and enjoy graphic novels like Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are four siblings who live in Brooklyn, New York. Their father is away in the Middle East fighting in the army. Meg wants to marry rich, Jo wants to write and be left alone, Beth wants to be a songwriter, and finally Amy wants to be an artist. They all have problems in their lives. Amy is bullied in school, Beth has health issues, Jo has trouble dealing with her “secret”, and Meg doesn’t like being poor and wants to have nice things. They are also all very worried that their father will not come back from the war. 

Marshmallow’s Review: This modern retelling of the classic Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a great graphic novel. I think the author Rey Terciero and the illustrator Bre Indigo did a great job of remaking Little Women for today’s readers.

This book shows each of the original characters and their characteristics very well, The pictures are also all very well created. They depict the feelings of the characters very well. 

It is interesting how the author made this a modern retelling. Almost all of the events that happen in the original happen in the retelling except that they are modernized. As a result, this is not as old-fashioned as the original book. In the original, the sisters all get married (except for Beth, who dies). In this version nobody gets married because they are all too young (and nobody dies, either).

I think that this version of the story is a lot more relatable since the sisters are all realistic. All of the girls suffer from different problems, and on top of all that, they all worry for their father who is in the Middle East fighting in a war.

I also recently watched the movie remake of Little Women. Here is the official trailer, which made me really want to see the movie:

The official movie trailer of Little Women (2019).

The movie stuck very close to the original and so it was similar to the book but not precisely. But in the graphic novel, I liked how Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are all very different. If you read the original or watched the movie, you can tell that the characters in the graphic novel are the same characters, but they encounter many different problems and they are living in today’s world. They also all change a lot from how they were in the beginning, so the story is interesting.

This is a very good book for eight to seventeen year olds. It might be slightly confusing if you haven’t read the original, but you can read it and still get much out of it in any case.   

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo 100%.
Marshmallow rates Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo 100%.

Caramel reviews The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

Caramel often likes to reread books he used to read when he was a much younger bunny. Today he reviews one of his very old favorites: The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper (aka Arnold Munk), with new art by Loren Long. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, with new art by Loren Long.
Caramel reviews The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, with new art by Loren Long.

Sprinkles: I haven’t seen you with that book for a while Caramel.

Caramel: True. I haven’t read it in a long time. But this is a good book if you like helping and trains.

S: And you do like both helping and trains! No wonder you like this book!

C: It is an awesome book. I love the pictures and the whole story!

S: So what is it about?

C: It’s about a train full of things for good boys and girls and it’s going over a mountain. But its engine breaks.

S: Oh, that is sad. Then what happens?

C: All the toys are very sad. They want to get to the good boys and girls and make them happy.

S: Then what happens?

C: A lot of trains pass by and they don’t help the train. Until this little blue engine comes along, and her name is really Little Blue Engine!

Caramel is reading The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, with new art by Loren Long.
Caramel is reading The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, with new art by Loren Long.

“I’m not very big,” said the Little Blue Engine. “They use me only for switching trains in the yard. I have never been over the mountain.”
“But we must get over the mountain before the children awake,” said all the dolls and the toys.
The very little engine looked up and saw the tears in the dolls’ eyes. And she thought of the good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain who would not have any toys or good food unless she helped.
Then she said, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” And she hitched herself to the little train.

S: Yes, this book is a classic, first published in 1930, and the part where she says “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” is really famous. Why do you think so Caramel?

C: Because it makes people want to help other people.

S: Yes, even though the Little Blue Engine is small and inexperienced, she decides to try and help. That is quite nice. And she can help because she thinks she can. So it’s also about …

C: … believing in yourself! And this is probably the eleventh time I read this book!

S: I think you and I together read this about that many times Caramel!

C: Hmm, I guess I must have read it a lot more times then.

S: Would you recommend it to other little bunnies and their big people?

C: Yes I would. It is a fun book to read with your big people. In our case it is you of course Sprinkles.

S: I know. I have always loved reading this book to you. I liked repeating “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

C: “Puff Puff Chug Chug!” It sounds like the train chugging along.

S: Yes, it really does sound like a train, doesn’t it?

C: Yes! And I love trains! But this is all for this week! Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel recommends The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, with new art by Loren Long, to all little bunnies and their big people.
Caramel recommends The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, with new art by Loren Long, to all little bunnies and their big people.