Caramel reviews Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat

Caramel has already reviewed The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat and  The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham, two of a new series titled Elephant and Piggie Like Reading. This week he shares his thoughts on a third book in this series, Harold and Hog :Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions when needed.

Caramel reviews Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat.
Caramel reviews Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat.

Sprinkles: Caramel, what did you think about this book?

Caramel: I thought it was awesome! There are two friends, an elephant and a pig, and they are trying to pretend to be Elephant and Piggie. You know who those are of course?

S: Yes, those are the main characters of Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series. And you love that series, don’t you?

C: Yes!

S: And it seems this new elephant, his name is Harold, and his friend Hog, also like our Elephant and Piggie. So they try to be like them.

C: Yes, they pretend to be like them. First Harold tries to be Gerald, That is Elephant’s name. And Hog tries to be Piggie.

S: And does it work?

C: No! They’re are not really very good at it. They are not exactly the same.

S: They have different personalities, right? Harold is not as careful as Gerald and Hog is not as carefree as Piggie. So…

C: So they decide that Harold is going to be Piggie and Hog is going to be Gerald!

S: That is a perfect solution, right? They can still pretend to be best friends!

C: And they ARE best friends!

Caramel is reading Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat.
Caramel is reading Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat.

C: And even a pigeon shows up!

S: The Pigeon?

C: No. A pigeon. They even ask him if he wants to drive the bus!

S: That is really funny. Does this story remind you of any other stories Caramel?

C: Yes! Remember the one where Elephant and Piggie are in a book?

S: Yes, Mo Willems’ We Are In A Book! There are many interesting meta questions that one can consider reading that book. So this one too raises many questions. In the end Elephant and Piggie look quite puzzled. Why do you think they look that way?

C: I don’t really know.

S: It seems that they are surprised to see two friends so much like themselves but also not like themselves. And these two friends know of them.

C: Like they must be famous or something.

S: Yes, kind of. And then in the end they decide to pretend to be Harold and Hog! Quite a neat full circle!

C: Yes! This is a fun book to read! I like reading it out loud on my own. But it is more fun to read with you. Shall we read it again together?

S: Yes. Let’s. This is a nice place to end our review, too.

C: Yes. Good bye! Stay tuned for more reviews from the Book Bunnies!

Caramel really enjoyed reading Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat.
Caramel really enjoyed reading Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat.

Caramel reviews Samurai by Louie Stowell

Caramel loves reading books about real things. In previous weeks he reviewed Knights and Castles (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #2) by Will Osborne and Mary Pope Osborne and The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles by Chris McNab. This week he shares his thoughts on another nonfiction book: Samurai by Louie Stowell. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions as needed.

Caramel reviews Samurai by Louie Stowell.
Caramel reviews Samurai by Louie Stowell.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, what is this book about?

Caramel: It’s about samurai of course!

S: But what is a samurai?

C: Samurai were the noble horseback warriors of old Japan. They fought with swords named katana, and bows and arrows. They had a code of honor called bushido. That means that they followed certain rules. For example, if a samurai was losing in a battle, he would not be captured alive. He used one of his special swords to kill himself. This was called seppuku or hara-kiri.

S: That sounds rough. What else did you learn from this book?

C: Samurai thought the cherry blossom was an important symbol, because at the height of its beauty it would fall to the ground to die. Samurai also had to be willing to sacrifice themselves before they got old. They saw the cherry blossom as a proof that this was the natural way of things.

S: That is kind of romantic. And cherry blossoms are really pretty,. aren’t they?

C: Yes, they are! They are called sakura! They are a very pale pink and they are really beautiful!

S: Did you learn anything else?

C: Yes. Samurai wrote poems and read a lot. They also liked the arts. Most samurai were men, though women of samurai families also learned to fight and some even went to battle.

S: Why are you always speaking of them in the past tense Caramel? Are there no samurai left now?

C: Not exactly. In 1873 the emperor of Japan decided to replace the samurai with a modern army. Today there are no samurai left in Japan but only their descendants.

S: That is a big word Caramel! Do you know what it means?

C: It means relatives and people who came after.

S: Yes, that’s more or less it.

C: Samurai served clan lords, or a shogun, the military leader of Japan. The book tells stories of many wars of many samurai families. Many of them died.

S: So did you enjoy this book Caramel?

C: Yes. It was kind of violent though. Lots of people killing each other and themselves, and lots of death.

S: True. Hmm.. What else can we say about this book?

Caramel shows some of the pictures in Samurai by Louie Stowell.
Caramel shows some of the pictures in Samurai by Louie Stowell.

C: There are many pictures in the book. And this is a chapter book. It has seven chapters.

S: Do you have a favorite one?

C: Not really. But I have a least favorite one. The third chapter is called The Scarlet Sea. And it is about two clans of samurai fighting and the losing side dying. It is very sad.

S: Yes, that was a sad story, wasn’t it?

C: Yes.

S: Hmm.. let us end in a more upbeat tone. You also know how to make samurai helmets, right?

C: Yes! Just right for samurai bunnies! You can find some helpful directions here. And below is me wearing a samurai helmet I made!

Caramel is proudly wearing his samurai helmet.
Caramel is proudly wearing his samurai helmet.
Caramel really enjoyed learning about samurai!
Caramel really enjoyed learning about samurai!

Caramel reviews The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles by Chris McNab

Caramel loves to read books about real things. In his first review of a nonfiction book, he told us about Knights and Castles (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #2) by Will Osborne and Mary Pope Osborne. Here he shares his enthusiasm about another favorite: The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles by Chris McNab. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles by Chris McNab.
Caramel reviews The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles by Chris McNab.

Sprinkles: Caramel, you chose a big book for your review this time, right? This is a big format book, quite heavy, too, with 160 pages!

Caramel: Yes! This is a really big book. I have to put it on the ground to read it.

S: It has lots of colorful pictures, right?

C: Yes, including a pachycephalosaurus! Did you know that a pachycephalosaurus is a bonehead?

S: What’s a bonehead?

C: These are dinosaurs that use their heads to fight. They charge each other with their heads and then they bump, crash into each other. Pachycephalosaur means “thick-headed lizard” apparently.

S: That’s weird! What else is in the book?

C: On each page there are lots of dinosaurs and other reptiles. There are crocodiles and flying reptiles. Here is one of my favorites: terrestrisuchus. But I don’t really know how to pronounce it! Anyways the book tells us:

Terrestrisuchus was smaller than Gracilisuchus (about 10 inches tall). Its body was short but its tail was twice the length of its body and head put together. It had long legs and must have sprinted over the dry landscape, snapping up insects and small lizards in its long jaws. It probably ran mostly on four legs, but could have run even faster on just its back legs, using its tail for balance.

S: So dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles came in all sorts of sizes, right? Which of the bigger dinosaurs do you like most?

C: Other than pachycephalosaurus? Velociraptors! They ran fast! And they had feathers! But they couldn’t fly, so scientists think that they used their feathers to keep warm.

S: So there were flying dinosaurs too?

C: Pteranodon flew of course! But there were also other flying reptiles. Some lizards would glide!

Caramel enjoys reading about dinosaurs in The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles.
Caramel enjoys reading about dinosaurs in The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles.

S: Dinosaurs in this book seem to be all over the world, there were different types of dinosaurs in different places, and they also lived in different times, right?

C: Yes. Scientists think the earth is 4.5 billion years old. And the book starts at the beginning, with life in the seas, then moving on to land.

S: So the book is organized historically. There are about twelve pages about early life and then we begin learning about dinosaurs. Every now and then we look at different geographies. What happens in the end?

C: In the end the dinosaurs went extinct. But scientists don’t really know exactly why and how. It is kind of sad.

S: Yes, it is indeed sad Caramel, but if dinosaurs had not gone extinct, there might not be much room on this planet for us rabbits.

C: Good point! We might not have enough food to go all around for all of us. Still I like to learn about dinosaurs. They are very interesting!

S: Indeed!

Caramel loves reading and looking at the many many pictures in The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles.
Caramel loves reading and looking at the many many pictures in The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles.

Caramel reviews Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon

Caramel is already reading some chapter books, but he still loves picture books (even though last week he just reviewed a book that has no pictures!) This week he reviews one of his favorites: Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions as usual.

Caramel reviews Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon.
Caramel reviews Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon.

Sprinkles: Caramel, what do you want to tell us about this book?

Caramel: It’s a friendship story and I really like it.

S: What is it about exactly?

C: There is a penguin who finds a pinecone, and asks his grandpa what is wrong with him. His grandpa says it’s too cold for the pinecone.

“It’s too cold here,” said Grandpa. “Pinecone belongs in the forest far, far away. He can’t grow big and strong on the ice.”

So then Penguin takes the pinecone to the forest. He sets off on a journey.

S: That sounds sophisticated Caramel! And very funny. You like to use such phrases! Ok, then what happens?

C: He leaves the pinecone in a special place in the forest, on a bed he makes.

Penguin made a cozy nest out of the softest pine needles he could find.

S: So where is the friendship?

C: At the beginning of the story where Penguin finds Pinecone, they become friends. They play together, so much!

S: He even knits a scarf for the pinecone, doesn’t he?

C: Yes. I’m going to look at that page again. Hmm, that’s cool! Penguin knits an orange scarf for Pinecone. He has an orange scarf himself.

S: So now both friends have matching scarves, that’s cool! Do you ever wear matching things with friends?

C: Let me think. Sometimes I wear matching things with Marshmallow!

S: That’s right! Ok, let’s get back to the book. So Penguin takes Pinecone to the forest but then the forest is too hot for him. So he has to go back home, right?

C: Yeah. But then he misses Pinecone. And then he goes back to find him.

S: Does he find him?

C: Yup, but I won’t tell you the big awesome surprise! At least a surprise for Penguin!

S: Yes, that part is really neat. I wonder if our readers can guess what happens in the end… But we can probably give away the main moral of the story, right? It’s all the way at the end…

C: Yes!

S: So what is the moral Caramel?

C: Ok, I will read it:

When you give love … it grows.

S: That is a sweet idea, isn’t it?

C: It is a sweet story! Actually it’s an awesome story!

S: I know. You have read it several times already, no?

C: I have no idea how many times I have read it really.

S: So you recommend this book?

C: If I were Marshmallow I’d give it 100%!

Caramel loves reading and rereading Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon.
Caramel loves reading and rereading Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon.