Caramel reviews The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein

The book bunnies household has been reading books by Shel Silverstein recently. After Marshmallow’s review of A Light in the Attic, now we present to you Caramel’s review of The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, by Shel Silverstein. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions as needed.

Caramel reviews The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein. May The Force Be With You!
Caramel reviews The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein.

Sprinkles: Caramel, tell us about this book.

Caramel: This is a story about independence. I think. There is a main character called The Missing Piece. It looks like a slice of pie… With no crust!

S: Yum!

C: It’s not actually a slice of pie so don’t eat the book!

S: Ok, I won’t. So what does this Missing Piece want?

C: To roll with someone. To be a part of someone. It thinks it is the missing piece from a whole and together with the rest it will make a whole.

S: Hmm, like the slice of pie looking for the rest of the pie, right?

C: Yeah, that’s a good way to think about it Sprinkles.

S: So does it find someone to roll with?

C: Yes. But only for a little while. Then it grows and doesn’t fit anymore. So the other piece leaves it behind.

S: That sounds sad. It sounds like when you grow and change, some of your friends may not be able to follow you.

C: I guess that’s kind of like the story. The Missing Piece grows but the other part doesn’t. And it gets surprised when the Missing Piece starts growing.

S: Then what happens?

C: The Missing Piece meets the Big O.

S: So who is the Big O?

C: A circle. A full circle. It has no missing pie slices taken out of it.

S: So it is a whole on its own and doesn’t need any missing pieces to complete it?

C: Right. But it says to the Missing Piece that they can roll together if it wants.

S: But the Missing Piece doesn’t know how to roll on its own, does it?

C: No, not yet. But soon it will. Because soon it starts to wear out its corners and finally can be a rolling piece itself.

S: So it gets its rough edges smoothed out and it becomes an O itself, too, right?

C: It’s a baby O! Not a Big O, but still an O and so it can roll! That sounds like us rabbits. Rabbits have baby bunny rabbits, and they can run around like the big bunny rabbits. But they have to learn. Like us.

S: So do you think this is about growing up and being independent?

C: Yes I think so.

S: Yes, I agree. I think this book is about growing up and growing apart from some of our old friends. This can be sad sometimes but then there are other friends who appreciate us growing and changing, and who continue our life journeys with us. So overall this book gives us a lot of things to think about. And it has lots of pictures. Do you like it?

C: I think it is awesome! I really like it! Can I read it to you a bit?

S: Yes, let us wrap up this review then. Till next week…

C: Stay tuned for more reading adventures with the book bunnies!

Caramel loved The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein!
Caramel loved The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein!

Marshmallow reviews A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Reading The Unscratchable Itch in Caramel’s review of The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham from last week reminded Marshmallow of Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic. Below she reviews this old favorite.

Marshmallow reviews A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein.
Marshmallow reviews A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like poetry books, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Overview: This is a book of poems written for children by the author of the famous The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein. Silverstein also wrote another poetry book for children called Where The Sidewalk Ends. He also wrote The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, which Caramel wants to review some day. (Oh no, I told you what Caramel is going to review!)

Marshmallow’s Favorites: My personal favorites are Fancy Dive, Peckin’, Ladies First, and Almost Perfect. I even memorized Fancy Dive and Peckin’ already. 

I like Fancy Dive because it is funny but also involves a few broken bones. 

The fanciest dive that ever was dove
Was done by Melissa of Coconut Grove.
She bounced on the board and flew into the air
With a twist of her head and a twirl of her hair.
She did thirty-four jackknives, backflipped and spun,
Quadruple gainered, and reached for the sun,
And then somersaulted nine times and a quarter—
And looked down and saw that the pool had no water..

Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic

As you can tell from this example, many of the poems have an interesting twist in the end. There is a sense of Dr. Seuss in Shel Silverstein I think. 

Peckin’ is very sad but humorous. 

The saddest thing I ever did see
Was a woodpecker peckin’ at a plastic tree.
He looks at me and “Friend,” says he,
“Things ain’t as sweet as they used to be.

Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic.

This poem reminds me of the tragic story of Nigel, the lonely gannet. This was a bird in New Zealand that fell in love with a concrete bird and stayed with the concrete bird and eventually died. Poor Nigel was faithful to the very end.

Ladies First is a good poem and so is Almost Perfect.  In both poems, the main character is an annoying person who goes through life saying the same annoying phrase over and over again. Both Mary Hume (Almost Perfect) and Pamela Purse (Ladies First) get precisely what they deserve in the end. 

Marshmallow is reading Ladies First by Shel Silverstein in A Light in the Attic.
Marshmallow is reading Ladies First by Shel Silverstein in A Light in the Attic.

There are over a hundred more poems in the whole book. You should check them out yourself!

Marshmallow’s Review: Shel Silverstein’s poems are funny almost all the time — some are sad, like Cloony the Clown — but they are always well written. They all sound good; I enjoy reading many of the poems out loud to Caramel. Almost all poems in the book come with an illustration (drawn by Shel Silverstein himself) that adds to its effect.

This is overall a very good book. I am currently rereading the book for the fifth time, and I expect to be rereading it again and again in the future. 

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%

Marshmallow rates A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein 100%.
Marshmallow rates A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein 100%.

Caramel reviews The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham

Last week Caramel reviewed The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat, from Mo Willems’ series Elephant and Piggie Like Reading. Below he shares his thoughts on the second book he read from the series: The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham.
Caramel reviews The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham.

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

Caramel: It’s an awesome book! The book is about a group of dinosaurs who all have an itch to scratch, except one. But they can’t scratch their itches.

S: Why not?

C: There’s a sign that says “Dinosaurs do not scratch”.

S: And so they want to follow the rules and don’t scratch themselves, right?

C: Yes, until the end. But I won’t tell you what happens in the end. Can I instead tell you about which dinosaurs are in the book?

S: Yes Caramel. That would be neat.

C: There is a brontosaurus, a pterodactyl, a triceratops, a T-rex, and a pachycephalosaurus.

S: That is a lot of different dinosaur types. How come you know them all?

C: I like dinosaurs. And I know all about the first four. And one of my friends knows a lot about the pachycephalosaurus.

S: So which one is your favorite dinosaur then?

C: The pachycephalosaurus! It’s a plant eater. I also like triceratops and pterodactyls. I also like pteranodons, but there is no pteranodon in The Itchy Book.

S: That’s a good way to get back to the book we are talking about. So what else did you want to say about this book?

C: I loved the book! It is so funny! The twist in the end is cool and the characters themselves are all funny!

S: Ooo, so there’s a twist in the end, hmm?

C: Yup, but I won’t tell! Everybody should read it themselves!

S: I agree. Ok, so this was again an Elephant and Piggie Like Reading! book. Do they appear in the book again, like in The Cookie Fiasco?

C: Yes. They show up at the beginning of the story and also at the end. Like before. And Gerald gets very very itchy in the end.

S: Well, talking about itches and scratching itchy spots might make you itchy, no?

C: Yep, that’s exactly what happens to Gerald. But I didn’t feel itchy. I just felt like laughing.

S: That is good, isn’t it? This book reminded me of Shel Silverstein’s poem: The Unscratchable Itch. Do you know it?

C: Nope.

S: Ok, then we should read it together:

There is a spot that you can’t scratch
Right between your shoulder blades,
Like an egg that just won’t hatch
Here you set and there it stays.
Turn and squirm and try to reach it,
Twist your neck and bend your back,
Hear your elbows creak and crack,
Stretch your fingers, now you bet it’s
Going to reach — no that won’t get it–
Hold your breath and stretch and pray,
Only just an inch away,
Worse than a sunbeam you can’t catch
Is that one spot that
You can’t scratch.

Shel Silverstein, from A Light in the Attic, Harper & Row, 1981.

C: That is a funny poem!

S: It is, isn’t it? And a good place to end your review this time, right?

C: Yes, it’s just about time. Because now I’m itchy! Scratch scratch!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham.
Caramel enjoyed reading The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham.

Marshmallow reviews The Sorcerer’s Maze Collection by Blair Polly and DM Potter

Marshmallow has been reading a few “choose your own adventure” books in the last few weeks. Here she reviews the first book she read from the You Say Which Way series of Blair Polly and DM Potter: The Sorcerer’s Maze Collection.

Marshmallow reviews The Sorcerer's Maze Collection by Blair Polly and DM Potter.
Marshmallow reviews The Sorcerer’s Maze Collection by Blair Polly and DM Potter.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books that allow you to choose which way you go, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): The Sorcerer’s Maze Collection is basically a collection of games. You are the main character in the book. There are multiple ways to get to the end, if you get to the end. (That sounded too scary. You will most likely get to the end. Eventually.)

The Sorcerer’s Maze Collection contains three different stories: Adventure Quiz, Jungle Trek, and Time Machine. In all of the stories there is a sorcerer’s apprentice present, and in the third story (Time Machine) there is a girl named Matilda. (She is an Australian foreign exchange student and she becomes your friend before the time machine adventure happens.)

Adventure Quiz (book #1): This story starts with you sinking into a marshmallow floor. (Hey, I’m not a floor!) Signs pose questions for you to answer. There is a Sorcerer’s apprentice who asks you questions that are like a quiz or a test. The questions are kind of hard. (At least for a rabbit!) There are questions about space, science, history, and math. (You go back to the beginning if you mess up.)

Jungle Trek (book #2): You start out reading a book, and then you get transported to the jungle, and there are two people in the jungle. They tell you that they are the Sorcerer’s apprentices and are there to take you to the Sorcerer. To get through the jungle you have to answer the many questions they ask you, like “Which is bigger? The mouse or the rabbit?” (The questions are harder than the one I wrote.) If you get the question right, then you continue, and if you don’t, then you go back to the beginning. The questions in this book were the most interesting in the whole collection.

Time Machine (book #3): This story begins in an empty laboratory with your friend, Matilda. You see some weird gadget and Matilda touches it. You and Matilda are transported back in time to the age of Ancient Egypt. Once again you are asked many questions. If you answer a question correctly, you go closer to your real time, and if you make a mistake, then you go farther away from your real time or the time that you started in. Of course there is, again, a Sorcerer’s apprentice who is asking most of the questions.

Marshmallow’s Review: I enjoyed the first two stories more than the third, because I felt like the Sorcerer was cruel in the third book. And the companion, Matilda, was not terribly helpful.

I liked most the questions that came up naturally in my path through the maze, rather than the questions posed by the Sorcerer’s apprentices.

These were my first “choose your own adventure” books. I enjoyed the experience. It was like a game. I liked that I could impact the story because I sometimes get very frustrated when characters in books make foolish choices. In this book I could make all the decisions. I think I will read more books like this in the future.

Marshmallow’s rating: 95%

Marshmallow rates The Sorcerer's Maze Collection 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Sorcerer’s Maze Collection 95%.