S: Of course those latter ones were not really about dinosaurs though they did have a lot of pretty precise drawings. But let us get back to this Fact Tracker book.
the biggest C: Yeah. This book tells us everything humans know about dinosaurs. There are pages for Tyrannosaurus rex, and other meat eaters, and then there are pages and pages of information on plant eating dinosaurs like sauropods, triceratops, and ankylosauruses. Then there is a Hall of Fame. There are lists of the fastest, the biggest, and the ones with the biggest heads, biggest eyes, and the longest necks, and the longest names, and so on.
Today Caramel visits Memory Lane, and shares some thoughts on five of his favorite books from when he was a much littler bunny: How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? (2000), How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? (2003), How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? (2005), How Do Dinosaurs Go To School? (2007), and How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? (2009), all written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague. As usual, Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.
Sprinkles: So Caramel, it has been a long time since I saw you with these books!
Caramel: Yes. I used to read and reread these books so many times, but I don’t do that anymore. But I saw them the other day and wanted to look over them again. I still love them!
S: I know! We used to read them together. They all rhyme and they all have so many amazing pictures all throughout…
C: Yes, I love the pictures of the dinosaurs! They are so good! And they also say what each dinosaur is, and so for a bunny like me who loves dinosaurs, these books are just perfect!
C: Yes, they are all different dinosaurs, and the picture of each is different, with all sorts of details.
S: So tell me a bit about How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? This is the first book of the series I think, and it was the first one we read.
C: This is about how young dinosaurs often delay going to sleep. Apparently a dinosaur who doesn’t want to go to sleep might throw his teddy bear all around, and slam his tail around, and shout “I want to hear one more book!” They also might roar or do other mischief, like turning back the lights on.
S: Those sound quite familiar to me as a parent trying to put her little ones to sleep!
C: Yes, they are very funny.
S: But of course you would never do such mischief before bed?
C: Of course not! Marshmallow and I are such sweethearts, we’d never do such a thing.
S: You are sweethearts alright, but I guess we might disagree about bedtime mischief….
S: Okay, next tell me a bit about How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?. What’s this one about?
C: It’s about when a little dinosaur is sick and not feeling well. It is about them whining and complaining and so on. But in the end we learn actually that the little dinosaurs don’t ever do those bad things. The story goes:
Does he push back each drink,
spit his pills in the sink?
Does he make a big stink?
Is that what you think?
S: So actually the books all start with all possible bad behaviors and then …
C: and then they end with all the good things the little dinosaur could be doing.
S: So in a way, this is teaching young bunnies how to behave even when they are not feeling well. Right?
S: Okay, now let us talk about the next book: How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? What is this one about?
C: This is about how little dinosaurs eat their food. It again starts with all the bad things a dinosaur could be doing. And then we learn that the little dinosaurs don’t do those things. They say “thank you”, “please”, and so on. They “sit still”, and “eat all the food in front of them with smiles and good will”.
S: So again a little bunny is learning how to behave during dinner time. Right?
S: So tell me more about the drawings. Do you find them amusing? Interesting?
C: Yes. The parents on each page are humans and only the children are dinosaurs. It’s funny, and I like thinking of myself as a dinosaur.
S: I guess children would like to be dinosaurs sometimes, it would be really fun to imagine. And parents are a bit too serious and maybe even a bit too old to be dinosaurs.
C: Yes, kind of.
S: Okay, so what will you tell us about How Do Dinosaurs Go To School?
C: This is about all the bad things a little dinosaur could be doing in school, like pushing friends around, teasing them, being noisy when students need to be quiet, and so on. But actually the little dinosaur helps his classmates, raises his hand in class to talk, has a lot of friends he plays with, and growls at bullies.
C: Well, they are similar maybe, but the pigeon there does not want to go to school. He’s afraid. So that book is about making the pigeon feel good about going to school. But this book is about how to behave at school when you are already there.
S: I see. That makes sense.
S: So which is your favorite dinosaur in this book?
C: The Silvisaurus, who is sitting in class, fidgeting, with his tail in the air…
S: Do you ever do that in class too?
C: No, I don’t! I try to listen to my teacher and do what she says.
S: Good for you Caramel!
S: Finally tell me a bit about How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?
C: This one is about dinosaurs saying “I love you” without words.
S: So they show their parents how much they love them with their actions?
S: What kinds of actions?
C: The dinosaurs in this book make messes and behave badly sometimes, but then they make up for it, and they help out, and they smile and hug and kiss their parents, and so the parents know their little dinosaurs love them.
S: I think this one is written a bit differently than the other book. You hear the story from the voice of the parents who notice the little dinosaur’s love in his actions. Then the parents tell him in return how much they love him, too.
C: Yes, that is true.
S: I especially loved reading this book to you out loud and giving you big hugs.
C: I really like big hugs!
S: So did you know that there are a few other books in this same series that we did not read?
C: Yep. Apparently there is one about counting, one about colors, one about cleaning one’s room, and one about playing with friends.
S: But we read and reread our five books so many times!
C: Yes. I really liked them when I was little.
S: Caramel, you are still little in the grand scheme of things.
C: Well, you too are tiny in the grand scheme of things, Sprinkles.
S: Touche! You are right. Cosmologically I am tiny, too. And I still love reading together with you.
C: Maybe we can read some of these together tonight?
S: I’d like that. But for now let us wrap up this review. What do you want to say to your readers?
C: They should all read these books! And they should all stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!
Caramel has been reviewing the books in Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon series one by one. The last one he reviewed was the eighth book (How to Break A Dragon’s Heart). Because Marshmallow had already reviewed the ninth book (How to Steal A Dragon’s Sword), Caramel decided to skip that and move on to book #10: How To Seize a Dragon’s Jewel. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: So Caramel, we are on book number 10. Tell me about it.
Caramel: This book is about the dragon gem. It has the power to destroy all dragons forever.
S: Wait, that sounds serious. So the title is talking about a dragon’s jewel. Is that what you are talking about too?
S: So which dragon owns this dragon gem? And who is trying to seize it from them?
C: I think it belongs to all dragons, but it is hidden and there is a map that shows where it is. Hiccup and his friends are trying to find it before bad guys do.
S: Because of course the bad guys would want to hurt the dragons?
C: Of course. But there are others who just don’t want Hiccup to have it. Those are some dragons who do not like humans much.
S: Hmm, that is interesting. So there are factions among the dragons, because Toothless and many of the other dragons we met actually like humans, right?
C: Yes. Also the map has a red herring.
S: Oh, do you know what is a red herring?
C: A fake lead, so a clue that looks like it will lead somewhere but it won’t. It is a picture of a red herring, a real herring, a fish, that is winking.
S: That’s a cool way to teach children this phrase! A red herring that is a real red herring!
S: So you read all ten of the books in this series now. Did you enjoy this tenth book as much as the others?
C: Yes, but I think I liked the ones before the eighth one more, because with the eighth book things start getting a bit too serious. A bit too scary.
S: What do you mean?
C: There is a character named Excellinor. She is a witch and Alvin the Treacherous’s mom, and she is really scary.
S: Hmm, and she shows up in the eighth book, is that so?
C: Yes. And see, here is a part where I think it gets extra creepy:
The Librarian turned, and poked his way back to Prison Darkheart, slaloming crazily through the corpses, with all the eagerness of one who has waited long to settle an old score.
Everything we do, you see, has its consequences and repercussions, every kind act and every bad, every friend we make, and every enemy.
Everything is connected.
C: And the Librarian is not even as scary as Excellinor.
S: Okay, I can see why you would get a bit sad that this series, which was mostly fun and light-hearted, became a bit scarier than you had expected.
C: Yes! I really am a bit bummed by it.
S: That seems to happen a lot though, as the characters mature, for example, in the Harry Potter books, too, things start getting more and more serious and scarier and scarier.
C: I know. And that is kind of why I’m avoiding reading those books.
S: Well, I still think they are really good books and you should read them some time soon…
C: We will see. Maybe I can be convinced.
S: Maybe. I’ll see what I can do to convince you. Well, let’s get back to this tenth book of the How to Train Your Dragon series. What three words would you use to describe it?
C: It is a bit scary, so I would use that word. Then, it is also still funny, so that is my second word. And sad.
S: Oh, I did not know that. But I know you don’t like too many sad stories.
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.
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!
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?