Caramel reviews Ereth’s Birthday by Avi

Caramel has enjoyed reading the adventures of animals living in and around Dimwood Forest. And he has already reviewed Ragweed, Poppy, and Poppy and Rye for the book bunnies blog. Today he reviews Ereth’s Birthday, the next book in this series by Avi. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Ereth's Birthday by Avi.
Caramel reviews Ereth’s Birthday by Avi.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, tell us about this book.

Caramel: This book is about Ereth, who is a porcupine. Poppy met him in the book Poppy. But we met him before that, in Ragweed and Poppy.

S: I remember Ereth. He is a bit grumpy, right?

C: Yes, maybe more than a little.

S: So tell me more. What happens in the book?

C: The book starts on Ereth’s birthday. And he thinks that his best friend, that is Poppy the mouse, and her husband, that is Rye, forgot about him.

S: That must make him even grumpier then.

C: Yes. He kind of likes Poppy, too, so…

S: Yes, I remember that too. Ereth is rather fond of Poppy, and is very sensitive, too, but he won’t admit it.

C: Yes. Pretty much.

S: So I read all the books from this series before this one. Should I read this too?

C: Yes! You should!

S: Why?

C: Because it is a very good book. I like the plot. I also like Ereth a lot. He is funny.

S: Are there new characters in this one?

C: Yes, there are some different characters. Poppy and Rye have children, and they show up. And there is also Marty the Fisher.

S: Do you know what a fisher is?

C: Not really, but it must be an animal that can hurt porcupines.

S: Oo, so Ereth has an enemy?

C: Sort of, but he doesn’t really know it.

S: Hmm, that sounds interesting. By the way apparently a fisher is a carnivorous animal that lives in forests.

C: Are they going extinct?

S: Wikipedia seems to say no.

C: Marty the Fisher said that people hunted them down.

S: Yes, Wikipedia says people liked their fur. But apparently though they lost a lot of their habitat in recent times, they are not in danger of going extinct.

C: Phew! That’s good.

Caramel is reading Ereth's Birthday by Avi.
Caramel is reading Ereth’s Birthday by Avi.

S: Did you know that this was Avi’s favorite among the Poppy books? He wrote that this has the most autobiographical content and that Ereth becoming a reluctant step-father is similar to himself being a step-father.

C: I didn’t know that!

S: I didn’t, either. But tell me more about this step-parenting.

C: Ereth has to take care of three kits.

S: What’s a kit?

C: A kit is a young fox.

S: So how does Ereth take these three foxes under his care?

C: He meets their mother, she is caught in a trap, and she asks him to take care of her three kits. And Ereth promises to do it.

S: And he keeps his promise?

C: Yes.

S: This is sounding more and more interesting as you reveal more. I might have to read it after all…

C: In fact you should! And you shall!

S: Okay, okay, don’t push now. Let us wrap up the review then so you can give the book to me. What are your three words for the book?

C: Awesome, interesting, good characters.

S: Hmm, that might work. I have a feeling it is also a sweet story. Would you say so?

C: Yes, I guess so.

S: Alright, let us close up then so I can get reading. What do you say to our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading Ereth's Birthday by Avi, and he is looking forward to reading the next books in the series.
Caramel enjoyed reading Ereth’s Birthday by Avi, and he is looking forward to reading the next books in the series.

Caramel reviews Poppy and Rye by Avi

A couple weeks ago Caramel reviewed Poppy, the book that launched Avi’s Dimwood Forest series. This week he is continuing the series, with a review of the next book in line: Poppy and Rye, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca. As usual, Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.

Caramel reviews Poppy and Rye, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca.
Caramel reviews Poppy and Rye, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, tell me about Poppy and Rye.

Caramel: Poppy and Rye is a good book if you like mice. Especially if you like battles of mice against bad creatures, like beavers.

S: Well, I never thought about whether I’d like to read about mice battling beavers before. But you are right, this is a book about mice and their fight against a group of mean beavers.

C: And in the lead is a beaver named Caster P. Canad. He is the one who made a dam and it flooded the house that Ragweed’s family used to live.

S: Oh, so Ragweed’s family is in this book? That’s cool.

C: Yes, Rye is his brother, and he is in the title of the book. But this is after Ragweed … oops… I am trying not to give away what happened to Ragweed in Poppy.

S: Yes, but the events in this book happen after all that, right?

C: Yes. Why do you ask?

S: So I am guessing people who are thinking of reading this book should probably have already read Poppy and should already know what happened to Ragweed.

C: Yep, I guess so.

S: So do you think someone could read Poppy and Rye without having read Poppy?

C: They could, but it is probably not a good idea.

S: I agree, I think you would not have a good sense of who Poppy is otherwise. But keep in mind the very first book Ragweed was actually written after Poppy and Rye. So perhaps people do not need to really have read that one just yet.

C: Possibly. But I still think it is a good idea to start with Ragweed. And if you can read Ragweed and Poppy in between, before Poppy, then you can follow these mice all through their adventures in the right way.

S: That is how we are reading through this series, right?

C: Yes.

Caramel is reading Poppy and Rye, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca.
Caramel is reading Poppy and Rye, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca. 

S: Okay, so you already told us that there are some beavers who have basically destroyed the home of Ragweed’s family.

C: Yes, the beavers make a dam on the brook and then they flood the home of Clover and Valerian, who are Ragweed’s mom and dad. And the family has to move out.

S: So where does Poppy come into this story? Doesn’t she live far away from the Brook?

C: Yes, but she wants to tell Ragweed’s family the news about his … oh, sorry.. She wants to meet them, let me say.

S: Okay, yes, she goes through the whole forest to get to them, right? Who is with her?

C: A porcupine, a bad-mannered porcupine, a very annoyed porcupine. And his name is Ereth.

S: Some people really like Ereth. Did you like him, too?

C: Yeah, I especially love his grumpiness. He is funny! He always grumbles and says things to annoy Poppy.

S: Yes, but he also really really likes Poppy, right?

C: Yes.

S: So what three words would you use to describe this book?

C: Funny, descriptive, adventurous.

S: Hmm, you have used two of those words before for the other books from the Dimwood Forest series, but “descriptive” is new. Why do you say that?

C: There is a lot of description in the story. The author describes Ereth and Rye and all the other characters. And the places they are in. The forest, the brook, the area near the dam, and the rock where Clover and Valerian and their litter of billions of mouse babies move into after their first home is flooded.

S: That is true. And so yes, I agree, your descriptive words are good choices for this book. Again. So let us wrap up this review. What would you tell our readers Caramel?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunnies reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading Poppy and Rye, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca, and is looking forward to reading more adventures of these lovable animals from Dimwood Forest.
Caramel enjoyed reading Poppy and Rye, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca, and is looking forward to reading more adventures of these lovable animals from Dimwood Forest.

Caramel reviews Poppy by Avi

On the second anniversary of the launch of the book bunnies blog (check out our Hello World post for memories!), Caramel is ready to share with our readers his thoughts on Poppy, the first book in the Tales from Dimwood Forest series by Avi. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Poppy, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca.
Caramel reviews Poppy, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, this is your first review for 2021. And you picked Poppy for it. Why?

Caramel: Because it is the first book I read this year. I think.

S: Can you tell us a bit what this book is about?

C: It is about Poppy, as you can tell from the title. Poppy is a deer mouse. She lives with her big family (with about two hundred other deer mice) in the Gray House. The Gray House is a big old house, abandoned by its owner who was a farmer.

S: So is the story mainly about Poppy and her family?

C: No, but it is mostly about her and her adventures.

S: You had reviewed another book in this series before: Ragweed. Though it was written after this one, in terms of the story timeline, it is supposed to have happened before. But that was all about Ragweed and his adventures; Poppy was not in that book at all.

C: That is true. Ragweed met Poppy in the second book, Ragweed and Poppy, which we did not review because I read it on the Kindle.

S: Yes, I read that book too. Ragweed tried to save Poppy from a trap in that book. Do we see Ragweed in Poppy as well?

C: Only in the first chapter because he gets … oops, sorry, I should not spoil the plot.

S: Hmm, now I am curious. I might have to read this book.

C: That’s the point. You should read it. It’s a good book. All except the part where Ragweed gets … oops, sorry.

S: Okay, let us move away from the Ragweed topic. Tell me more about Poppy then.

C: The mouse or the book?

S: The mouse.

C: She goes on an adventure and gets into a lot of trouble.

S: That sounds like an exciting read. In fact I remember you not wanting to turn out the lights last night so you could read more.

C: Yeah. I picked up the book and had to finish it. But you made me go to sleep so I woke up in the morning and first thing, I got reading and finished it.

Caramel is reading Poppy, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca.
Caramel is reading Poppy, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca.

S: So what are three words that you can use to describe the book?

C: Fun, adventurous, cliffhangers.

S: That is funny! In your review of Ragweed, you had also picked similar words: “Adventure, danger, cliffhangers”.

C: I think we can use those same words here too.

S: So what is next? Will you read the next book in the series?

C: Yes. And I will probably review it for the blog. But I can’t believe Ragweed got … oops…

S: Okay, maybe we should end this review before you spill the beans. What do you want to say to our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading Poppy, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca, and is looking forward to reading more about the creatures of Dimwood Forest.
Caramel enjoyed reading Poppy, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca, and is looking forward to reading more about the creatures of Dimwood Forest.

Marshmallow reviews The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

This week Marshmallow writes about Katherine Applegate’s 2012 book The One and Only Ivan.

Marshmallow reviews The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.
Marshmallow reviews The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about animals and their take on the world around us, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Ivan is a gorilla who, by his count, has lived in the Exit 8 Big Top Mall by the Video Arcade for 9,855 days (that is about 27 years). His friends include Stella, Bob, Ruby, Julia, and later Kinyani. Stella is an elephant who has a good memory and tells stories to Ivan. Bob is a stray dog who sneaks into Ivan’s “domain” (which is what he calls his display area) and enjoys sleeping on top of Ivan’s stomach. Julie is a girl whose father, George, works as the mall’s custodian. Ruby is a baby elephant who appears in about the middle of the book. She is “adopted” by Stella, who treats her like her own child. Kinyani shows up later in the book.

Sadly, Stella passes away due to an old injury that causes trouble. Before she passes away, she has Ivan promise to her that he will make sure that he takes her to a zoo, which she thinks is where humans “make amends”. As the book progresses, Ivan starts to change his mind about his “domain” and plans to take Ruby to a zoo. 

Marshmallow is reading The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.
Marshmallow is reading The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that this is a really sweet book because Ivan is a really kind character. His character is unique since he never gets angry. He also really likes to draw. He particularly enjoys drawing banana peels. Though people don’t understand what they are supposed to be, his drawings are sold at a shop. 

This is a great book, also because it shows that animals think too. (LIKE BUNNIES!) People seem to forget this when they swat flies or hunt cute animals. (LIKE BUNNIES!) Ivan shows this when he writes about things that happened to him. It is sad, too, because poachers captured him along with his sister, and while they were in a truck, his sister died.

The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is based on the true story of the western lowland gorilla named Ivan, who lived through similar circumstances. He was captured by humans and brought to live with them. But he grew too big so they moved him to be on display. He spent twenty-seven years there but was finally moved to Zoo Atlanta.

The One And Only Ivan has recently been made into a movie. The Book Bunnies haven’t watched the movie yet, but here is the trailer:

The One and Only Ivan | Official Trailer: “An adaptation of the award-winning book about one very special gorilla, Disney’s “The One and Only Ivan” is an unforgettable tale about the beauty of friendship, the power of visualization and the significance of the place one calls home.”

The story, plot, and characters are well written. I really enjoyed reading The One And Only Ivan. 

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate 100%.
Marshmallow rates The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate 100%.