Marshmallow reviews Poached by Stuart Gibbs

Marshmallow has already reviewed two books from Stuart Gibbs’s FunJungle series: see her review of Belly Up, the first book of the series, and her review of Panda-monium, the fourth. Today she reviews the second book: Poached.

Marshmallow reviews Poached by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow reviews Poached by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about animals or if you like reading mystery books, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Teddy Fitzroy has once again landed in the middle of trouble. This time, the victim is Kazoo, the koala that the Australian government lent to the billionaire J.J. McCracken, who built FunJungle, the world’s newest and most thrilling zoo.

With both his parents working and living at FunJungle, Teddy is around the place most of the time, which allows him to investigate the crime. Unfortunately, one particular security guard, Marge O’Malley, who he calls Large Marge behind her back, is determined to prove that Teddy is involved with the stolen koala. (I know calling people names behind their backs is not nice, but this O’Malley is really not a nice person herself… at least in this book! For more on her you will need to read Panda-Monium!) While all this is happening, Teddy also has school issues. Vance Jessup, the school bully, enjoys bullying him on a daily basis. 

Since the security crew in FunJungle is so convinced that Teddy stole the koala, they are not even trying to find the real criminal. So it is once again all up to Teddy to solve the mystery and find Kazoo.

Marshmallow is reading Poached by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow is reading Poached by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Review: Poached is a very good book for those who have enjoyed Stuart Gibbs’ past Spy SchoolMoon Base Alpha, and The Last Musketeer series. It is a great sequel to the first book in the FunJungle series, Belly Up. You can probably enjoy reading this even if you have not read Belly Up, but I would not recommend doing that. Reading the first book would help you know and understand the characters here much better.

On top of being a great read, Poached also has some interesting facts about animals. For example you can learn a lot about koalas while you read. You can also follow the great Teddy Fitzroy through his journey with bull sharks and bullies, and learn more about the bull sharks.

Just like the first book in the series, this one has some great characters. J.J. McCracken, for example, seems to be Teddy’s “biggest fan” sometimes, but then turns around and tries to have him arrested. Teddy is also a well-written character. He reacts to situations like a normal person would.

You might be thrilled or horrified, but with humor, action, and crisis, Stuart Gibbs has created a great read for all ages and all bunnies. I recommend this book highly!

The best age is 8 and up though. Younger bunnies might not understand the plot thoroughly. Gibbs manages to write very complex plots! On the other hand, if their parents can read it to them, this might not be an issue.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Poached by Stuart Gibbs 100%.
Marshmallow rates Poached by Stuart Gibbs 100%.

Caramel reviews Verdi by Janell Cannon

Today Caramel reviews a book he borrowed from his school when his school closed down for the next few weeks due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: Verdi by Janell Cannon. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Verdi by by Janell Cannon.
Caramel reviews Verdi by by Janell Cannon.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, why did you pick this book to talk about today?

Caramel: Because I like this book. I like the illustrations, and the story.

S: I think the author both wrote the story and illustrated it herself.

C: Yes, she did. I like it. It is very green.

S: Yes, it is very calming. In fact we can read it out loud together, or watch someone else read it out loud, and it makes us feel calm and cozy, right?

C: Yep. Here is a video of someone reading Verdi that we found and watched:

A video reading of Verdi by Janell Cannon.

S: So can you tell us what this story is about Caramel?

C: A green python that does not want to be green. He is young so he is not green yet. And he does not want to become green, like the other ones. The other greens, he calls them.

S: That sounds interesting. What color is he then?

C: He is yellow. They are actually called green tree pythons. They are green when they are grown up, and they live on trees, so that is why they are called green tree pythons.

S: That is interesting! That Wikipedia article also says they get as long as six feet!

C: Yes. After the story ends, the book has a section on snakes. And you can learn lots of facts there.

S: And I know you like your facts Caramel! So tell me a few of your favorite snake facts from that section in the book.

C: Ok. There are about 2500 species of snakes!

S: That is a lot of snake types. What else?

C: And the biggest snake in the world is 33 feet!

S: That is long! Anyways it is interesting that these green tree pythons are born yellow and then they change into green as they mature. So this Verdi does not want to change. Why do you think that is?

C: Maybe he wants to stay young forever?

S: That sounds likely. He does not think too highly of the other already green ones, right?

C: He thinks they are lazy and boring.

S: And then what happens?

C: And then he turns green anyway.

S: And does he become lazy and boring?

C: No. He is big and green but he makes friends with two yellow snakes and together they jump and make figure eights with each other. It is such a nice book!

S: It is sweet, true. What do you think it all means?

C: I think it means that even if you do not want something to happen to you but if it is a part of your nature, then you will have to go through it anyways.

S: So you might not want to grow up but you will have to some day.

Caramel is rereading his favorite page and looking at his favorite illustration in Verdi by by Janell Cannon.
Caramel is rereading his favorite page and looking at his favorite illustration in Verdi by by Janell Cannon.

C: But it is ok to grow up. He is big and green but still can have fun and friends.

S: Yes, so maybe it is not that bad to grow up after all.

C: But I don’t want to grow up much either. I actually really don’t.

S: Why so?

C: It’s fun being a young bunny.

S: That is true. But there are also a lot of things you can’t do when you are such a young bunny.

C: But do you even remember when you were a young bunny?

S: Of course Caramel. I remember a lot of things. I was frustrated a lot because I couldn’t do everything I wanted to do.

C: Do you remember your school?

S: Yes, I do. I remember many of my friends and my teachers. But let us get back to Verdi. Do you know what Verdi means?

C: Yes, it means green. In Italian I think.

S: Yes, so that is kind of amusing, isn’t it? His name is green, so we could have guessed that he would eventually become green anyways.

C: Yep. But still it’s a nice story. I like reading it.

S: That is great Caramel. So let us wrap this up.

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

Caramel really enjoyed reading Verdi by by Janell Cannon.
Caramel really enjoyed reading Verdi by by Janell Cannon.

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%.

Marshmallow reviews Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

After a one-month break, the book bunnies have a lot of books to write about! Marshmallow starts 2020 off with her thoughts on Belly Up, the first novel in Stuart Gibbs’ Teddy Fitzroy / FunJungle series.

Marshmallow reviews Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow reviews Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like mysteries, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Teddy Fitzroy lives in the largest zoo in the world, FunJungle, where you could watch sharks in Shark Odyssey, experience what being on a Safari is like, or see what most of the visitors come for: Henry Hippo, the most celebrated hippo in the world. That is, until he dies.

The vet of FunJungle figures out that Henry was actually murdered. Teddy sneaks into the autopsy and learns that Henry might have died from peritonitis, a disease that makes holes in the stomach, but the vet, Doc, says that there were too many holes for it to be natural. The people who run FunJungle cover it up and say that Henry Hippo died of natural causes. Teddy realizes that no one is doing anything and that he has to solve the mystery himself. 

“As Teddy searches through all the clues and asks too many questions, it becomes clear that he too might end up belly up.”

Marshmallow is reading Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow is reading Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Review: This book is a great book! You will not be able to put it down once you start reading.

The story is so mysterious that you cannot figure out who killed Henry even if you are Sherlock Holmes. The book supplies you with so many suspects that you cannot guess who did it. Unlike many mystery books, Belly Up supplies you with many suspicious characters. The real murderer turns out to be someone who you would never suspect even though the clues were all there under your nose (but they were all just things that seemed unimportant).

This is one of the best mystery books that I have read and I expect that I will reread it over and over again.

I have to admit that Belly Up is slightly confusing and requires holding onto clues that add up to the solution, so it is probably great for ages 8-15. it might confuse readers under 7. There are some curse words but not any very serious ones and there are only a few in a 286-page book.

Marshmallow thinks that Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs is one of the best mystery books that she has ever read.
Marshmallow thinks that Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs is one of the best mystery books that she has ever read.

Stuart Gibbs creates great characters, and his characters show us what other peoples’ lives are like. For example, Summer McCracken, the daughter of the billionaire J.J. McCracken, lives a luxurious but caged existence.

I think that this is a book that can also be enjoyed by adults, too, (and I am trying to get Sprinkles to read it soon!) but I believe it is better for children. Belly Up has humor, animal facts that Teddy uses to solve the mystery, adventure, and mystery.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs 100%.
Marshmallow rates Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs 100%.