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.

Marshmallow reviews Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz

Today Marshmallow is reviewing Of A Feather, a 2021 novel by Dayna Lorentz.

Marshmallow reviews Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz.
Marshmallow reviews Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about birds or family, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Reenie has been sent to live with her great-aunt, Beatrice, because her mother is unable to take care of her. Reenie can always pretend to smile, but right now she doesn’t have much to be smiling about. A social worker, named Randi, with an “i”, as Reenie describes them, is driving Reenie to this “alleged aunt”. A little after arriving, Reenie learns that her aunt is a falconer, that is, she is skilled in falconry.

Meanwhile, in the nearby forest, a young great horned owl is attempting to fly. His older sister, First, can fly and First rubs it in his face every chance she gets. Our owl, called Second, is struggling. Second can’t hunt well, either. He feels like a disappointment, and when a car hits his mother, things get even worse.

Reenie is now going to school in this new area. She wants to avoid making friends at her new school. She believes that friends are dangerous. Also, Reenie wants to believe that she will not stay with Beatrice permanently. However, she does want Beatrice to teach her how to become a falconer. So Beatrice agrees to help her. They decide to catch a “passage” bird. Instead, they catch Second. Reenie names him Rufus. But Rufus is a great horned owl, and the law in that state doesn’t allow you to train an owl. Since Rufus is injured however, they are allowed to keep him until he gets better. But they do start training him. Will they get caught?

Marshmallow is reading Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz.
Marshmallow is reading Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz.

Marshmallow’s Review: I really enjoyed reading this book even though it is often about birds catching small animals, like rabbits. Caramel is also wary of owls because of the bad owl Mr. Ocax in Poppy (though he did not mention him in his review). But here we see from the owl’s perspective and this owl is a quite likable character.

I think that the author did a great job of creating realistic characters, like Reenie. I like making friends at school but could totally get why she did not want to make friends at her new school; I could sense her loneliness and fear. All characters in Of A Feather are unique but really realistic. I think my favorite character is Rufus, because in his chapters (the book switches from Reenie’s perspective to Rufus’s and then back), he always refers to Reenie as “Brown Frizz” because he finds it strange that she only has hair on one side of her head.

I liked that the author wrote the book, partly, from the perspective of an owl. It was interesting to see what the other side of the story was like, not that the stories disagreed with each other.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading Of A Feather

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz 95%.
Marshmallow rates Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz 95%.

Caramel reviews Poppy’s Return by Avi

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

Caramel reviews Poppy's Return, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca.
Caramel reviews Poppy’s Return, written by Avi and illustrated by Brian Floca.

Sprinkles: Caramel, you just finished another Poppy book!

Caramel: Yes!

S: So what will you tell us about it?

C: This book is about Poppy who is going back to her childhood home, the Gray House. When she gets there, she sees there is trouble there.

S: Oh, that sounds serious.

C: Oh yes, it is. Poppy’s dad is sick and there is an ominous bulldozer outside, waiting to destroy the Gray House.

S: That is pretty scary. The mice who live in the Gray House are not used to living anywhere else, so they must be very worried, right?

C: Yes. Ereth the porcupine creates more problems though. He starts the bulldozer!

S: That is terrible! Okay, so there are many scary and dangerous things happening or about to happen.

C: Yes, but it is also very funny. Ereth says many funny things, some of the words are made-up I think. He is my favorite character.

S: I know you enjoyed reading Ereth’s Birthday, and it was partially because you like Ereth so much. Is he still as grumpy as before?

C: Yes he is. And maybe even more because Poppy left him behind. She did not want him to come with her. But he did follow her anyway.

Caramel is reading Poppy's Return by Avi.
Caramel is reading Poppy’s Return by Avi.

S: Okay, we told our readers a lot already about the storyline. Let us talk about the book more generally. So what three words would you use to describe this book?

C: Adventurous, funny, and interesting.

S: Those are good words Caramel. So did you like the book?

C: Yes.

S: I have not yet read this one. Do you think I should?

C: Yes. I think all bunnies should read it. If you liked the other Poppy books you will like this too.

S: I did enjoy all the other books, so okay, I will read this then. Thank you for the recommendation. Now there is one more book in the Dimwood Forest series. It is called Poppy and Ereth. I have a feeling you will want to read that one too.

C: I think so. I want to know what more adventures Poppy and Ereth will have together.

S: And the title tells us that they will definitely both be in the book.

C: So you should take this book now and start reading. I will get started with the other one.

S: That makes sense to me Caramel. So let us wrap up this review. What do you want to tell our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunnies reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading Poppy's Return by Avi and is looking forward to reading the nest and last book in the series soon.
Caramel enjoyed reading Poppy’s Return by Avi and is looking forward to reading the nest and last book in the series soon.