Caramel reviews Ghost Town at Sundown (Magic Tree House #10) by Mary Pope Osborne

Caramel has recently inherited Marshmallow’s complete collection of Magic Tree House books, and returned to reading them regularly. In the past he had reviewed several books from this amazing series by Mary Pope Osborne already:  Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House #5), Afternoon on the Amazon (Magic Tree House #6), Knights and Castles (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #2), Sunset of the Sabertooth (Magic Tree House #7), Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House #8), and Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9). Today he reviews book #10: Ghost Town at Sundown.  As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Ghost Town at Sundown (Magic Tree House #10) by Mary Pope Osborne.
Caramel reviews Ghost Town at Sundown (Magic Tree House #10) by Mary Pope Osborne.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, you chose a Magic Tree House book for your last review before we take a month off for summer.

Caramel: For summer fun and other stuff.

S: Yes, so tell us a bit about this book.

C: The book is about the same kids that showed up in the other Magic Tree House books. So if you read any of those before, then you will know Jack and Annie. Jack is the older brother and Annie is the younger sister, she is more rebellious and Jack is more logical and cautious. Way more cautious.

S: Yes, I remember them well. So what happens in this book to Jack and Annie? What is the ghost town in the title?

C: It’s called Rattlesnake Flats. It is a town in the Wild West. And guess what? They meet the person who wrote the book that took them there.

S: Oh I remember. In this series Jack and Annie travel in a magic tree house. When they open a book they find in it, the tree house takes them to the time and place of the book. So do you know what the Wild West is?

C: I am not sure.

S: Let us see. Wikipedia calls it the American Frontier, and says the popular understanding of the phrase involves “Native American lands west of the Mississippi River, in what is now the Midwest, Texas, the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, and the West Coast.” Time-wise, it could be anytime as early as the seventeenth century, but more likely is the eighteenth or nineteenth century.

C: I see. That makes sense. At the end, we learn that the book they use to go there is published in 1895 in Dallas. That is in Texas.

Caramel is reading Ghost Town at Sundown (Magic Tree House #10) by Mary Pope Osborne.
Caramel is reading Ghost Town at Sundown (Magic Tree House #10) by Mary Pope Osborne.

S: So is this story tied in to the previous ones? You last read and reviewed Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9).

C: Well, they are related. This story begins with Morgan giving Jack and Annie a riddle. We saw Morgan before. She is Morgan Le Fay from the King Arthur / Merlin stories, but she is not evil.

S: In fact the kids really like her in these books, right?

C: Yes. The tree house is hers I think. She tells them that they will soon become Magic Librarians, so they can travel with the magic tree house.

S: That sounds exciting!

C: Yeah, so they go and meet a ghost.

S: Is that scary?

C: Not particularly, he is a friendly ghost. He waves at them.

S: Hmm, that sounds intriguing. So tell me your three words for the book then Caramel.

C: Happy, cowboy-ish, and amusing. It’s funny.

S: This makes sense to me though I am not quite sure “cowboy-ish” is a real word.

C: It must be!

S: Okay! So let us wrap up your last review before our summer break. What do you want to tell our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews! We will be back in August!

Caramel enjoyed reading Ghost Town at Sundown (Magic Tree House #10) by Mary Pope Osborne, and is looking forward to reading more of these fun and informative books.
Caramel enjoyed reading Ghost Town at Sundown (Magic Tree House #10) by Mary Pope Osborne, and is looking forward to reading more of these fun and informative books.

Caramel reviews How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale (Book #5 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell

Caramel has been going through the How To Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell these past few weeks. He has already reviewed the first four books for the book bunnies blog: How To Train Your DragonHow to Be A Pirate,  How To Speak Dragonese, and How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse. Today he talks about the fifth book in this series: How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions. 

Caramel reviews How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale (Book #5 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell.
Caramel reviews How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale (Book #5 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, what happens in this fifth book of the How To Train Your Dragon series?

Caramel: The same as every other one of them. Hiccup gets in trouble and then gets out of trouble.

S: That sounds like you are getting bored of this series. Are you?

C: No.

S: So it is somewhat formulaic but you still find it a lot of fun to read?

C: Yes. There is a new character called Humongous, Humongously Hotshot. He plays an important role in the story.

S: So tell us a bit about that story. But please, no spoilers this time.

C: The book starts with Hiccup in the pirate training program, herding reindeer on dragon back. As you can probably expect, Toothless messes everything up. Again. Like he did in all the other books.

S: So is Toothless silly, impulsive, or volatile? Why doe he always mess things up?

C: He gets too excited about everything and that causes trouble.

Caramel is reading How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale (Book #5 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell.
Caramel is reading How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale (Book #5 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell.

S: I saw you giggling your way through the book. Is it just as hilarious as the earlier books?

C: Yes. If you like the other books in the series, you will like this too. For sure.

S: It seems to me that the books are independent from one another. Is that true?

C: Not so much. Some characters from earlier books show up and knowing them from those earlier stories really helps. There is Alvin the Treacherous who shows up here. And he is a pretty good bad guy. But he first showed up in How to Be a Pirate. That was the second book.

S: I see. So there is some continuity and development in the characters, and the basic story of Hiccup keeps developing. But the individual books have distinct adventures which are relatively self-contained.

C: Yes, that is right.

S: So maybe you can give me your three words to describe the book.

C: Funny, adventurous, and fantasy.

S: You have used the first two before, but fantasy is new.

C: But fantasy does work for all the books. This is fantasy because Romans, Vikings, and dragons all live in the same world.

S: That makes sense of course Caramel. So let us wrap this up so you can move on to the next book in the series.

C: Yes, but I am actually reading a different book now, and that will probably be my next review.

S: That sounds intriguing. Readers will need to wait a week to see what this other book is. But for now, what do you want to tell our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale (Book #5 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell, and is looking forward to reading the rest of the series soon, though their reviews might need to wait till the end of the summer.
Caramel enjoyed reading How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale (Book #5 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell, and is looking forward to reading the rest of the series soon, though their reviews might need to wait till the end of the summer.

Caramel reviews How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse (Book #4 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell

It has almost been a month since Caramel reviewed for our blog How To Speak Dragonese, the third among the How To Train Your Dragon books by Cressida Cowell. Today he wanted to talk about the fourth book in this series: How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Reader beware! This review does contain some spoilers.

(You can also check out Caramel’s reviews of  How To Train Your Dragon, the book that started the series, and How to Be A Pirate, the second book. A while back, Marshmallow had also reviewed the ninth book, and her favorite in the series: How to Steal A Dragon’s Sword.)

Caramel reviews How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse (Book #4 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell.
Caramel reviews How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse (Book #4 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, you know exactly what I am going to ask you.

Caramel: Yes, I know. You’ll ask me to tell you a bit about this book. So Hiccup gets stung by a Venomous Vorpent.

S: What’s that?

C: It is a dragon whose sting is almost always fatal. The only cure is the vegetable that noone dares to name. The Potato!

S: Wait, how is the potato such a daring thing to talk about?

C: I am not sure. But the Venomous Vorpent comes up at the end of the third book, How to Speak Dragonese. Remember that I told you then that there was something like a cliffhanger? But we only learn that he stung Hiccup in this fourth book. Only at the very end.

S: Wait, so you are giving away the main plot line!

C: Kind of.

S: Hmm, that’s tricky! Maybe if we put a warning at the top of this review, we can salvage it. But try not to spoil things too much more, okay?

C: Okay, no more spoilers.

S: So tell me more about the book without any more spoilers.

C: We meet a new character named One-Eye. He is a dragon and he plays an important role in the story. In fact–

S: Wait! That sounds awfully like you are close to giving away more information about the book’s end. Remember, no more spoilers!

C: Okay, okay. But he does save Hiccup.

S: That sounds too much like another spoiler Caramel!

Caramel is reading How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse (Book #4 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell.
Caramel is reading How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse (Book #4 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell.

S: Tell me some other things about the book.

C: There is another new character, a Doomfang. Those are some other types of dragons. And Hiccup thinks his friend Fishlegs has been stung by a Venomous Vorpent too. So there is a lot going on. There are also a lot of funny parts. Hiccup’s dad calls Fishlegs Fisheggs!

S: So it sounds like you really enjoyed the book.

C: The story is exciting, the plot is good, and I tried to read it as fast as possible. And I liked the end too. But of course I liked the other books in the series too.

S: So the author manages to keep up the fun and the adventure at a level comparable to the previous books.

C: Yes. So my words for the book would be: funny, adventurous, and a good plot.

S: Okay, those will work.

C: And I will close the review up by saying: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel loved reading How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse (Book #4 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell, and cannot wait to start reading the next book.
Caramel loved reading How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse (Book #4 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell, and cannot wait to start reading the next book.

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.