Caramel reviews The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson

A few weeks ago Caramel reviewed a beautiful nonfiction book titled The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson. Today he decided to talk about a similar book: The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures, once again illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson.
Caramel reviews The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson.

Sprinkles: I have been seeing you read and reread this book for the last few weeks. What is it about?

Caramel: It’s about ocean animals. Well, there is also corals…

S: Are corals animals?

C: They’re made of polyps which are little animals. Tiny, probably microscopic.

S: Hmm, let’s see. Wikipedia tells us that corals are made up of polyps as you said. And polyps are tiny invertebrates but nowhere do I see how big they are. So I guess I will take your word for it for now…

C: Oh, wait, I want to tell you this fact: Polyps are relatives of jellyfish! Did you know that?

S: No!

C: And they have “tentacles for sifting food from water”.

S: That is interesting Caramel! I can see why you find this book fascinating! It is full of interesting facts.

C: Yep. Let me tell you a few facts about my favorite ocean creature in this book.

S: Oh, I am curious. What is it about?

C: Here, I found it: Flying fish!

Flying fish do not actually fly. They leap out of the water at high speeds and then glide on their winglike fins. The fish glide to escape larger predators that are attacking them underwater.

Caramel is reading his favorite pages (about flying fish) in The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson.
Caramel is reading his favorite pages (about flying fish) in The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson.

S: This is all very interesting!

C: There’s more!

S: But we should talk more about the book more generally. So tell me more about the book. What creatures are described in it?

C: I’ll tell you all of the animals in this book.

S: So you’ll read me the table of contents basically?

C: Yes.

S: That’s alright. Go ahead.

C: Sea otter, walrus, hooded seal, blue whale, humpback whale, narwhal, orca (killer whale), bottlenose dolphin, manatee, yellowfin tuna, marine iguana, whale shark, great white shark, ocean sunfish, manta ray, oarfish, humpback anglerfish, sea horse, queen parrotfish, clownfish, green sea turtle, lionfish, sailfish, flying fish, tufted puffin, emperor penguin, pelican, giant clam, lobster, giant Pacific octopus, giant squid, insulamon freshwater crab, sea slug, sea star, lion’s mane jellyfish, and coral.

S: Wow! That is a lot of creatures. And just like in the other Magnificient Book you reviewed, each of these animals gets two pages to itself, right?

C: Yes. And they also have amazing drawings! They are actually hand-drawn! It’s amazing!

S: I know! Some people are really good at drawing and illustrating, right?

C: They’re so good! They’re out of this world! At first I actually thought they were photos, but no, they are hand-drawn.

S: Yes, I am sure the illustrator worked really hard on them. And she must have worked really hard to get this good!

C: This reminds me of a quote, I do not know who it is from: “We do not do it because it is easy. We do it because it is hard.”

S: Oh, that is President John F. Kennedy’s speech about going to the moon. Here is the full transcript. The part you are remembering is:

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. 

Isn’t it an inspiring speech? And you are right in remembering it just now. Good illustrators work hard at their craft, and even if they probably find drawing easier than you and me, drawing that well needs a lot of hard work.

C: I guess all that hard work be tiring.

S: Probably. But in the end they have a truly magnificent book!

C: Yes!

S: Okay, Caramel. Let us wrap this up. Do you want to rate it again, by finding three words to describe this book?

C: Yes. Here they are: Awesome, amazing, beautiful.

S: Well, these basically say the same thing, but I know what you mean. The book is beautiful. Alright, here are my three words: “colorful”, “big”, because it is a pretty big book, and “interesting”, because there are a lot of interesting facts in this book that I did not know about.

C: I agree!

S: Ok, and now you tell everyone:

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson, and is looking forward to many more reads where he will study once again the many amazing creatures of the world's oceans.
Caramel enjoyed reading The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson, and is looking forward to many more reads where he will study once again the many amazing creatures of the world’s oceans.

Caramel reviews The Magnificent Book of Animals by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson

Today, as he has done many times before, Caramel wanted to talk about a book about facts, and chose a recent favorite: The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.
Caramel reviews The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.

Sprinkles: Okay Caramel, let us start talking about this book. What do you want to tell us about it?

Caramel: This is one big book for a little bunny like me.

S: That is true! Here is a picture of you standing next to the book so readers can see how big it is!

Caramel is showing us how big The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson, is.
Caramel is showing us how big The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson, is.

C: Yes, see how small I am next to the book!

S: Yes, I can see that. But I know you like this book; you have been almost inseparable from it for a while now.

C: Yes, I like looking at the book, and the pictures, and reading all the facts about all the animals.

S: So what animals are there in this book?

C: I’m going to tell you all of them. African elephant, red giant panda, reindeer, gray wolf, mandrill, flying fox, snow leopard, Przewalski’s horse, red kangaroo, lion ,polar bear, dromedary, orangutan, okapi, grizzly bear, chimpanzee, arctic fox, tapir, tiger, warthog, beaver, giraffe, koala, zebra, sloth, bison, hippopotamus, gorilla, white rhinoceros, wolverine, ring-tailed lemur, ibex, leopard, duck-billed platypus, striped hyena and bush baby.

S: That is a lot of animals. I don’t think I know all these animals. For example, I had never heard of a mandrill before…

C: It’s a type of monkey.

S: I also did not know about ibex, dromedary, and okapi. I also did not know about Przewalski’s horse.

C: The Przewalski’s horse is a type of horse. It’s the oldest breed. And the okapi is a big animal that lives in Central Africa. It has a long tongue, so long that it can lick its own eyes and ears. Kind of disgusting really!

S: Well, staying clean is important. So what about the dromedary and the ibex?

C: The dromedaries are some type of camel. And the ibex is a goat-like animal that lives on mountains. But the arctic fox is one of my favorites. Here is me looking at the page for the arctic fox.

Caramel is checking out the arctic fox in The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.
Caramel is checking out the arctic fox in The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.

S: Hmm, I’m not sure a bunny would be too safe near a fox.

C: I think you might be right. I also like the African elephant. Here is me looking at the page for the African elephant.

Caramel is reading more about the African elephant in The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.
Caramel is reading more about the African elephant in The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.

S: So each of the animals has a two-page spread where there is a really realistic drawing of the animal and a few interesting facts about it.

C: I don’t know how the person drew the pictures! It seems impossible.

S: What do you mean?

C: They’re so incredibly realistic! The eyes seem to be actually reflecting light, and they are looking at me when I am looking at them!

S: Yes, you are right Caramel, I agree the pictures really make this book magnificent. And the facts are all quite interesting, right?

C: Yes. For example I learned from this book that the arctic fox’s coat changes color between white and grayish brown so it can blend in its environment.

S: That is neat! And I can now see why you have not gotten bored of this book yet, even though you have been reading it over and over again so many times.

C: Yes, and I want to read it ten hundred thousand more times. So let’s end this review.

S: Okay. So what do we say?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoys reading and looking at the truly magnificent illustrations in The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.
Caramel enjoys reading and looking at the truly magnificent illustrations in The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.

Marshmallow reviews Big Game by Stuart Gibbs

Marshmallow has already reviewed several books from Stuart Gibbs’ FunJungle series: you can check out her review of the first book, Belly Up, here, while her review of the second book, Poached, is here, her review of the fourth book, Panda-monium, is available here, and her review of the fifth book in the series, Lion Down, is here. Today she finally got around to sharing with us her thoughts on the third book on the adventures of Teddy Fitzroy: Big Game.

Marshmallow reviews the third book, Big Game, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow reviews the third book, Big Game, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like detective books or enjoyed reading some of Stuart Gibbs’s other books, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Teddy Fitzroy lives at FunJungle, the world’s biggest, most elaborate zoo, where a lot of events have gone wrong. For example, the zoo’s mascot, Henry the Hippo, was murdered in the first book, Belly Up. Then in the second book, Poached, which Caramel is reading now, Kazoo the Koala is stolen, after the zoo and its billionaire owner, J.J. McCracken, went to “enormous lengths” to secure the bringing it to FunJungle. 

Now, the zoo has to face one of their hardest cases. Someone is shooting at Rhonda Rhino! Teddy has gotten into a lot of danger while solving other cases in FunJungle, so he wisely decides that he will sit out on this one. But J.J. McCracken has other ideas. 

Since J.J. knows that he is good at solving mysteries, he brings Teddy to his office, with his daughter, Summer, who is Teddy’s friend. J.J. asks Teddy if he will take the case, and Teddy says that he will consider it and ask his parents about it. While Summer calls her mother, J.J. hints that if Teddy doesn’t help, his parents will be fired. Teddy of course does not want his parents to lose their jobs, so he goes to the scene of the crime, Rhonda’s pen, where she is kept while she is pregnant. 

Marshmallow is reading Big Game by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow is reading Big Game by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is one of Teddy’s hardest cases. It is really hard to decide what to make of the situation, since there are so many loose ends, but of course they neatly tie up at the end. Like how the assailant didn’t use a silencer when they took the first shot and then later in another attempt did. 

I think that the attacker did a very good job of hiding their guilt. I never suspected them. A lot of the clues do not make any sense about who the attacker is, until the end. 

The book is very well written and thought out. The clues are all laid out, and at the end of the book (this is a personal experience, it might not happen to you), I wondered how I hadn’t realized who the guilty person was before. 

The author has once again mixed humor, thrill, and mystery in this book making this a great book for fans of mystery books. 

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates the third book, Big Game, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs, 95%..
Marshmallow rates the third book, Big Game, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs, 95%..

Marshmallow reviews Lion Down by Stuart Gibbs

Marshmallow has already reviewed several books from Stuart Gibbs’ FunJungle series: you can check out her review of the first book, Belly Up, here, while her review of the second book, Poached, is here, and her review of the fourth book, Panda-monium, is available here. Today she shares with us her thoughts on the fifth book on the adventures of Teddy Fitzroy: Lion Down.

Marshmallow reviews the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow reviews the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs.

Marshmallow’s overview: If you liked any of the other FunJungle books or if you like mysteries about animals, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): Teddy Fitzroy has gotten himself involved in a mystery, yet again. This time a mountain lion named Rocket is accused of “canicide”. The victim was King, the dog of Lincoln Stone, the famous host of a talk show.

Stone hosts a TV show on which he bad-mouths the government and how everything that they say is wrong and that he is right. He starts to accuse Rocket for killing and then says that he will pay anyone that kills Rocket five hundred thousand dollars. 

Teddy Fitzroy is approached by FunJungle’s vet’s daughter, who asks him to investigate the death of King. She and many other activists in the ALF (Animal Liberation Front) believe that someone has intentionally framed Rocket. As Teddy investigates it is discovered that King was not the breed that Lincoln Stone says he was on his show. And also on the night of the “murder” Stone left King outside when he knew that there were mountain lions around. It soon comes out that he wasn’t nice to King, either. As he learns from Stone’s neighbors that Stone was having a party with guns, Teddy now has even more suspects. One of the guests at the party might have accidentally shot King and then tried to make it look like Rocket ate him. Teddy is overwhelmed with mysteries while he also struggles with a mysterious vandal poisoning the giraffes every Sunday.  

Marshmallow is pointing to the back cover of the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs, where the reader can get a quick summary of the plot of the book.
Marshmallow is pointing to the back cover of the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs, where the reader can get a quick summary of the plot of the book.

Marshmallow’s review: This book is very suitable for those who want to learn about animals while reading a mystery book. The mystery is hard to figure out, and like the past books in the series, Lion Down has two mysteries that Teddy has to solve. The reader is provided with many suspects for the case about King’s death.

The reader also learns about habitat loss. The author combines mystery, suspense, and humor while informing the reader about habitat loss, a very big problem that hurts many animals.

Marshmallow is reading the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs.
Marshmallow is reading the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs.

This is a very funny book and it will entertain many different audiences. (Actually the whole series is like that. Caramel recently started reading Belly Up and he is enjoying it a lot!)

You could probably read this book before reading the earlier books in the series, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Reading the first books will help you understand the book better. Just reading Panda-monium could be okay though, if you don’t want to read all the books. Still I think reading all of them in the right order is probably the best idea. (If you want to read a book from a series that does not require reading the earlier books, then Ivy + Bean One Big Happy Family might be the book for you.)

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs, 100%.
Marshmallow rates the fifth book, Lion Down, in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs, 100%.