Caramel reviews Lions at Lunchtime (Magic Tree House #11) by Mary Pope Osborne

Caramel has reviewed quite a few Magic Tree House books for the book bunnies blog before. Today he wanted to talk about one that he had not mentioned here before: Lions at Lunchtime. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

This is the eleventh book in the series. For Caramel’s earlier reviews of books in the series, see  Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House #5), Afternoon on the Amazon (Magic Tree House #6), Sunset of the Sabertooth (Magic Tree House #7), Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House #8), Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9), and Ghost Town at Sundown (Magic Tree House #10). For his reviews of books in the accompanying Fact Tracker series, see Knights and Castles (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #2) and Sea Monsters (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #17).

Caramel reviews Lions at Lunchtime (Magic Tree House #11) by Mary Pope Osborne.
Caramel reviews Lions at Lunchtime (Magic Tree House #11) by Mary Pope Osborne.

Sprinkles: Caramel, you are reviewing another Magic Tree House book!

Caramel: Yep. I like them!

S: So tell us about this one.

C: As you can tell from the title, it is about Jack and Annie having an adventure with lions around lunch time. They never actually see the lions until the very end, but it is a pretty cool story. They are trying to solve some riddles again, and this book is about the third riddle.

S: Do they solve it?

C: Yup. Of course! How else would they move on to the next book?

S: I guess you are right. So where do they go this time?

C: Africa. And the time is not very clear, maybe it is the present.

S: So the riddles are so that they become librarians, right?

C: Yes, I think they want to join Morgan Le Fay’s library and be Master Librarians.

S: That sounds intriguing. Would you like to be a Master Librarian and travel around with these books and the magic tree house?

C: Possibly. As long as I could get back home whenever I wanted to.

S: I know, right? They go to all these different places and travel to different times, but thankfully they always get back home safe and on time.

C: Always in time for the next meal!

Caramel is reading Lions at Lunchtime (Magic Tree House #11) by Mary Pope Osborne.
Caramel is reading Lions at Lunchtime (Magic Tree House #11) by Mary Pope Osborne.

S: What else would you like to tell us about this book?

C: In the beginning of the book Annie is talking about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. I never had a peanut butter and honey sandwich before but it definitely sounds good. Maybe we can try it some time?

S: That sounds good to me. I don’t really like peanut butter with sweet things, but I know you do.

C: You do like peanut butter with bananas and that is kind of sweet!

S: You are right, I guess I just don’t like it with chocolate or jelly. But with honey, it sounds like it would work well together. Alright, maybe you can have a peanut butter and honey sandwich tomorrow.

C: Okay. I really want to try it.

S: Sure. So other than food ideas, did you learn anything else from this book?

C: Yes, the riddle was cool. It goes:

I'm the color of gold,
and as sweet as can be!
But beware the danger
That's all around me. 
What am I?

S: That is a good riddle Caramel, but we should not give away more. Tell me instead your three words to describe the book.

C: Funny, adventurous, and facts! There are a bunch of facts about animals. About gazelles, wildebeest, lions, and so on.

S: And we all know by now how much you like facts about animals! So this was a good read, then.

C: Yes. As usual. I always like the Magic Tree House books.

S: So maybe you will review a few more in the coming weeks. What do you want to tell our readers in the meantime?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading Lions at Lunchtime (Magic Tree House #11) by Mary Pope Osborne, and is looking forward to reading more about the adventures of Jack and Annie.
Caramel enjoyed reading Lions at Lunchtime (Magic Tree House #11) by Mary Pope Osborne, and is looking forward to reading more about the adventures of Jack and Annie.

Marshmallow reviews Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Today Marshmallow reviews Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, published first in 2002. Sprinkles read the book, too, and is asking questions to Marshmallow and taking notes as they go along.

Marshmallow reviews Hoot by Carl Hiaasen.
Marshmallow reviews Hoot by Carl Hiaasen.

Sprinkles: So Marshmallow, let us start with an overview of the book. What is the book about?

Marshmallow: It’s about this boy named Roy Eberhardt who has recently moved to Miami, Florida. One day while he is on the school bus, he sees a strange boy running outside without shoes. And the book is about him trying to find out who that boy is.

S: That sounds like the beginning of a good mystery. Would you say this is a mystery story?

M: Yes. It takes a while for Roy to figure out who that boy is and what is going on with him.

S: And then, the book is not yet over, though, right?

M: There is a second mystery in the book. There is a second narrator, besides Roy, who sees some other events happening, and he is also trying to figure out just what is going on. This one is a police officer named David Delinko.

S: And the two events end up being intertwined, right?

M: Yes. And things are tied in and resolved quite well at the end.

Marshmallow is reading Hoot by Carl Hiaasen.
Marshmallow is reading Hoot by Carl Hiaasen.

S: It sounds like you enjoyed reading this book Marshmallow.

M: Yes, I did. I thought the two mysteries being related was really neat, like a typical Nancy Drew story. Or like in the FunJungle series.

S: And I know you really liked both Nancy Drew stories and all the FunJungle books. So that is a compliment, coming from you!

M: Yes. I especially thought the plot was very interesting.

S: You wanted to add “bullying” to the tags for the post. Why is that?

M: Because there is an older boy at school who bullies Roy, and that is actually why Roy comes to notice the running boy. And then the bullying is related to how things evolve and are resolved, too.

S: The bully gets his comeuppance, right?

M: Yes, but I don’t want to give too much away.

S: I know. Okay, let us not say much more about that then. What else do you want to tell us about this book?

M: When you interview Caramel about books, you ask him for three words to describe the book. So I think three words that could describe this book are animal-friendly, fast-paced, and mystery. Or maybe I’d describe the book as “animal-friendly, fast-paced school mystery”. That’s not three words, but then again, I am not Caramel.

S: That makes sense to me, Marshmallow. And that is a good description of this book. We did not say much about the animal-friendly part but I suppose our readers might guess that from the title.

M: Yes, “hoot” is the sound owls make. So the readers might already guess there will be some owls somewhere.

S: Yes, I think that is quite reasonable. We rabbits may not like owls much, but the owls in this book are cute and lovable. Right?

M: Yes. They are nothing like Mr. Ocax in Poppy. They’re more like Rufus in Of a Feather.

S: Okay, Marshmallow, I think it is time for us to wrap up this review. What would you rate this book?

M: I’d rate it 95%. It is a good read and the two mysteries keep you wanting to read it fast.

Marshmallow rates Hoot by Carl Hiaasen 95%.
Marshmallow rates Hoot by Carl Hiaasen 95%.

Caramel reviews Poppy and Ereth by Avi

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

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

Sprinkles: Tell us a bit about this book Caramel.

Caramel: I hated the way it ended. I think Avi ruined everything!

S: Okay, that is a little strong, especially coming from you. I think you mean he did end the story in a very conclusive way, right?

C: I would say it a bit differently.

S: I know you did not like the end, but then again, if the author managed to get such a strong reaction from you, I am guessing that means he did a really good job creating this world and these characters that meant a lot to you.

C: Yes, that is correct. I still did not like what he did in the end.

S: Well, I have not yet read this one, so would you tell me not to?

C: I would. Do not read this book!

S: But I am a bit curious. The title makes me want to read it because I like Ereth and I am thinking this book will have more of his adventures with Poppy.

C: Well, they are both in the book, but they’re not together most of the time. Still yes, there are some adventures and I like Ereth, too.

S: So except for the very end where the author decided to finish things off with full certainty, is the story interesting?

C: Yes. Poppy gets caught and flown away by bats and has a lot of adventures. And Ereth thinks she is dead and plans a funeral for her.

S: I can see that being a good setup for both fun and adventure.

C: Yes, there is that in the book. But the end is sad, and there is some more sad stuff at the beginning too. I don’t know why Avi puts so many sad things into his books.

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

S: When you were reviewing Charlotte’s Web, you did say you don’t like sad books.

C: That’s true. I don’t like sad books, really.

S: So would you categorize this book as a sad book?

C: Yes. Both the beginning and the end have sad things happen, and all throughout, Ereth keeps talking about funerals and himself.

S: So you did not find it amusing or joyful as the other books in the series, then.

C: I like joyful. I did not think this was very joyful.

S: I think you just really did not like the fact that the author ended it so conclusively.

C: Yes. I wanted to know more about the creatures in Dimwood Forest, but now after what happens in the end-

S: Okay, let us not give things away that much. I think there might still be bunnies who will want to read the book for themselves. I think I will read it. I am curious to see how everything is tied up.

C: Well, as long as you are prepared for the sad parts, I can see you wanting to do that.

S: Yes, it would provide closure. That means a way of tying loose ends and letting go. This article talks about it in the context of relationships but it says it well:

a complete acceptance of what has happened and an honoring of the transition away from what’s finished to something new … in order to find different possibilities.

C: So are you trying to tell me that Avi wanted to write about something else? Some new characters and new places and new adventures?

S: Yes. And you as the reader can also move on and read about other characters and enjoy new and completely different adventures.

C: But I did not want to. I liked these characters and I liked Dimwood Forest.

S: I know. I suppose this is kind of like life. Sometimes we need to move on even when we don’t yet feel ready. So now you have finished reading all the Poppy books. Do you look over them and smile or do you have some lingering unhappiness about them?

C: Yes, I liked them. I liked Poppy and her family and Ereth, and all the other different characters in their lives. I think I have a smile on my face.

S: Yes, I love that smile on your face. Can you give me two more words, besides sad, that can describe this last book so we leave things on a happier note?

C: Adventurous, because Poppy again finds herself in a new adventure. And funny, because there is a point where Ereth is trying to smile. He is funny.

S: Okay, I am good with these three words. I think this will be the next book I read. In the meantime you can tell our readers to …

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Having read Poppy and Ereth, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca, Caramel will remember the series with a smile.
Having read Poppy and Ereth, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca, Caramel will remember the series with a smile.

Caramel reviews Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Caramel’s class has been reading E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. Quite reasonably, they have been pacing their way through the book, but Caramel just could not wait and is already done with the reading. Today he shares his thoughts on this 1952 classic. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Charlotte's Web, a classic from 1952, written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams.
Caramel reviews Charlotte’s Web, a classic from 1952, written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, tell me about this book.

Caramel: This book is about animals living in a farm. The main character is Wilbur, he is a pig. In the first chapter he is just born, and the farmer is getting ready to kill Wilbur because he is the smallest one in the litter. That’s called a runt. That’s very mean, right?

S: Why do you say that?

C: The pig is born and they should not kill him.

S: I see. I agree. But I am guessing the farmer is thinking more like how things are in nature, where the weakest and the smallest in a litter will not usually survive.

C: Yes, but later in the book Wilbur does grow and get much bigger.

S: So the farmer decides not to kill him after all?

C: Yes, the farmer’s daughter Fern stops him.

S: So tell me more. The book title involves someone named Charlotte. Who is that?

C: She is a spider.

S: Is she Wilbur’s friend?

C: Yes, she becomes Wilbur’s friend when he moves into the Zuckerman barn. Zuckerman is Fern’s uncle but he is not very nice. Zucker means sugar in German, you told me, but this Zuckerman is not very sweet.

S: I see. Maybe that is why the author chose that name. But why is the book titled Charlotte’s Web if the main character is the pig?

C: Charlotte does save Wilbur’s life multiple times, and she is very important to him. They are best friends and Wilbur learns a lot from her.

Caramel is pointing to the page where Wilbur the pig meets Charlotte the spider in Charlotte's Web, written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams.
Caramel is pointing to the page where Wilbur the pig meets Charlotte the spider in Charlotte’s Web, written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams.

S: As you know, I did not grow up in this country, and so this book was not on my reading list at school. When I learned about it, I was already an adult. But I also learned that the book was rather sad, so I never read it.

C: That’s an understatement. It is really really sad.

S: Okay, I won’t ask you why it is sad because I think I actually know. But I also know that you don’t usually like sad books. Did you like Charlotte’s Web?

C: Yes! It might be the only sad book I actually liked.

S: Oh? Why did you like it?

C: The story is really interesting, and I liked Wilbur. He is funny and very likeable. And I also liked Charlotte. She is wise and also very nice.

S: I know you like fiction involving animal characters. You already reviewed a whole lot of them, like Poppy about a mouse and her adventures, The Mouse and the Motorcycle about another mouse and his adventures, and Verdi about a snake. Do Wilbur and Charlotte have some interesting adventures too?

C: Oh yes! They go to the fair, and Charlotte makes an egg sack at the fair. She puts a lot of eggs in it. Let me check. 514 spider eggs.

S: That is a lot of eggs! So the book is fun and joyful to read except the sad parts?

C: Yes.

S: So which three words would you use to describe the book?

C: Sweet, happy and sad. Because it is really sweet and happy until it is sad. But then it is happy again, sort of.

S: Hmm, maybe I should read it after all. Would you recommend it?

C: Yep. But you will have to wait for Marshmallow to finish it first.

S: Hmm, I see I have competition. Okay, I guess I will wait. But at least now, after all these years, I know I should read Charlotte’s Web. In the meantime, let us wrap up our review. What do you want to tell our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel has enjoyed reading Charlotte's Web, written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams, and recommends it strongly. He already convinced both Marshmallow and Sprinkles to read the book.
Caramel has enjoyed reading Charlotte’s Web, written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams, and recommends it strongly. He already convinced both Marshmallow and Sprinkles to read the book.