Caramel reviews Ying and the Magic Turtle by Sue Looney

Caramel just got his paws on a new book from Natural Math, the good folks who publish fun mathy books for kids. (Marshmallow has reviewed a book from them before; see her review of Funville Adventures by A.O. Fradkin and A.B. Bishop.) Below he shares his thoughts on Ying and the Magic Turtle, written by Sue Looney, and illustrated by Jessica and Joey Looney. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Ying and the Magic Turtle by Sue Looney.
Caramel reviews Ying and the Magic Turtle by Sue Looney.

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

Caramel: This is a book about a little Chinese girl named Ying. She is smarter than soldiers.

S: Where do the soldiers come into her story?

C: It is not all about her.

S: So what is the book about?

C: It is about this river god Hebo, who has a really bad temper. He needs to learn anger management.

S: We read several books about anger management before. And you reviewed some, too, for this blog.

C: Yes, true. I did review Train Your Angry Dragon and Train Your Dragon To Accept NO by Steve Herman. So I guess Hebo should read those books too.

S: You are a funny little bunny Caramel! So what happens with this angry god?

C: So the god gets angry and floods all the villages. And then a turtle comes out of the river, so the Emperor’s men think it means they need to give Hebo a royal gift. And Ying sees that the turtle has an interesting pattern on its shell.

S: So is that where the math comes in?

C: Yep. It’s a magic square!

Caramel is looking at the page where the magic turtle emerges from the water in Ying and the Magic Turtle by Sue Looney.
Caramel is looking at the page where the magic turtle emerges from the water in Ying and the Magic Turtle by Sue Looney.

S: What is a magic square?

C: Let me read to you from the book:

Magic squares are square grids where one number s placed in each box of the grid. The numbers placed in the boxes are consecutive numbers from one up to the total number of boxes in the square. For example in a 3×3 magic square there are nine boxes; therefore each number (one through nine) is placed in one of the boxes. When placed correctly, the sum of these numbers is the same for all rows, columns, and diagonals. This sum in a 3×3 magic square is always 15.

S: So what happens next?

C: The next day the turtle comes out again. The emperor’s men think it means Hebo wants four gifts because the turtle has four legs.

S: But Ying knows better, right?

C: Yes. She solves the magic square. And so she saves the villages.

S: Did you know what a magic square was before reading this story, Caramel?

C: No.

S: So this was a neat way to learn about them, no? Apparently according to Wikipedia, the three by three magic squares were known to Chinese “as early as 190 BCE”. And magic squares are fun to play with. And there are some fun problems at the end of the book if you want to play with them. Did you solve any of the problems in the book?

C: Yes. I solved all of them. Ok, all except one. There is also a section “Origin of the Story” where we learn about the history of the problem.

S: Yes, apparently this story is inspired by an ancient Chinese legend. Isn’t that neat?

C: It is! And this is a neat time to end this review. So stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel enjoyed reading Ying and the Magic Turtle by Sue Looney. and recommends it to all other book bunnies.
Caramel enjoyed reading Ying and the Magic Turtle by Sue Looney, and recommends it to all other book bunnies.

Caramel reviews Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald

Caramel loves picture books and big-format non-fiction books, but he is also reading some chapter books these days. This week he is talking about the first book in Megan McDonald’s Stink series: Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.
Caramel reviews Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.

Sprinkles: So Caramel what do you want to tell us about this book? What is this book about?

Caramel: This book is about a boy named Stink.

S: Is Stink his real name?

C: No. It’s a name his big sister gave him. She is mean.

S: Yes, naming your little brother “Stink” is not a very nice thing to do, is it?

C: No. And she killed his class pet, too.

S: Wait, how did that happen?

C: It went down the drain!

S: So Stink, wait, what is his real name?

C: No idea.

S: Let us see. I’m sure we can figure it out. Hmm, look, here is the letter he wrote to the governor.

C: Yes. He signed the letter James E. Moody. So that must be his name.

S: But then why is the book called Stink?

C: His big sister calls him Stink.

S: Oh yes, and who is his big sister?

C: Judy Moody.

S: Yes, so maybe some readers will have met this little boy in the Judy Moody books, right? And in those books, everything is told from Judy’s perspective, and Judy thinks her little brother is annoying.

C: But this book is about the brother, and we read Stink’s own ideas.

S: Yes we finally get to meet this little person for real and see things from his perspective a bit. Do you like that?

C: Yes. But I have not read any of the Judy Moody books. Marshmallow has read many, but she has not yet reviewed any for this blog.

S: Maybe she will one day. But let’s get back to Stink. So this is a chapter book, so there are many different things that happen to James E Moody, right?

C: There are seven chapters, so seven different stories. But they are all about Stink.

S: Which one is your favorite?

C: I don’t know. They are all a little different. But they are also all about Stink wanting to grow taller.

S: Yes, I guess that is why the book is titled the shrinking kid. Because Stink thinks at the beginning that he is shrinking. Do you think that is really happening?

C: He shrank a quarter of an inch!

S: How could that have happened?

C: No idea.

S: What would you do if you found out you were shrinking?

C: I would be scared. I’m already small. I’m a little bunny.

S: Yes, that is true… Hmm. Tell me more about the book. Tell me about the pictures.

C: Many of the pictures are supposed to be drawn by Stink. I like them. They are funny.

S: Yes, I saw the one where the sink that the class pet disappeared in became a monster, according to Stink’s drawing.

Caramel is reading the page in Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid (written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds) where Stink is introducing us to the Jaws Monster, which is basically the sink that ate up his class pet newt (or rather, his big sister Judy Moody dropped the newt and then it went down the drain).
Caramel is reading the page in Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid (written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds) where Stink is introducing us to the Jaws Monster, which is basically the sink that ate up his class pet newt (or rather, his big sister Judy Moody dropped the newt and then it went down the drain).

S: So do you think this is a fun book to read?

C: Yes. I might even read it again and again. But now, it’s time to wrap things up.

S: Yes. So you have something to say, right?

C: Yes! Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel has enjoyed reading Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.
Caramel has enjoyed reading Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.

Caramel reviews And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

Today Caramel picked a sweet real-life story of two chinstrap penguins revolving around themes of family and love to share with the Book Bunnies Blog readers. Below he discusses And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions, as always.

Caramel reviews And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole.
Caramel reviews And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole.

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

Caramel: It’s a good book. A really good book. It’s about two penguins who are both boys, and they have a baby together.

S: How does that happen?

C: The zoo keeper gives them an egg. He puts it into their nest. Then they put it in the middle. Every day they turn it, so then all sides get warm. They take turns sitting on the egg.

S: Then what happens?

C: The egg hatches. It then grows strong enough to leave the nest. Then they take their baby to the water to swim.

S: And the zoo guests cheer them on, right?

C: Yes!

Caramel is looking at the page of And Tango Makes Three, where all penguins are playing together and the zoo guests are cheering them on.
Caramel is looking at the page of And Tango Makes Three, where all penguins are playing together and the zoo guests are cheering them on.

S: We have seen penguins at zoos, right?

C: I think so. I think at least once.

S: They are fun to watch. They waddle and dive into the water, and jump out.

C: Yes! They go “weeeeee!”

S: Did you know that this is based on a real story?

C: I didn’t know when I read the book. But then we read together the Wikipedia entry on the book and I learned.

S: Yes, apparently the story is based on two real penguins, named Roy and Silo, like in the book, and their adopted child, Tango.

C: Yes, and Tango makes three! Roy and Silo are two, and then plus Tango makes three.

S: That’s why they named the book that, right? Can you think of another name for the book?

C: No. I think the name of the book is just perfect.

S: I agree. What else do you want to tell us about the book?

C: If you like penguins, this is a really good book!

S: And we love penguins! We have reviewed several books about them before!

C: I didn’t know it was nonfiction before we read more about it on Wikipedia.

S: Does that change your opinion of the book?

C: It makes me like it more. I like real stuff. I also love real penguins!

S: Would you have liked to have received a penguin in the mail like Mr. Popper did in the book Marshmallow reviewed a few days ago?

C: If it listened to me, yes. And it shouldn’t smash me, they can be heavy you know.

S: Oh yes, apparently an emperor penguin can be as heavy as 99 pounds! But chinstrap penguins are much lighter. Wikipedia says they usually weigh around 7 to 10 pounds.

C: Ok, then I could like a chinstrap penguin. But I’d not want it to peck me.

S: Yes, that could possibly hurt. But they are so cute, aren’t they?

C: They’re adorable, especially when they are babies. Grownups are still adorable too.

S: I am thinking it is time for us to wrap up our review Caramel. Will you say your last words as usual?

C: Of course! Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel has enjoyed reading And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole.
Caramel has enjoyed reading And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole.

Caramel reviews The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray

Caramel often enjoys reading big encyclopedic books on various scientific and technological topics. See for example his review of a big book on engineering, and another big book on dinosaurs. Today he is talking about his recent favorite: The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray.
Caramel reviews The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray.

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

Caramel: I like it because I like elements.

S: What are elements?

C: Elements are like atoms. Hydrogen, oxygen, uranium, tin are all elements.

S: Yes, those are some good examples of elements. Elements are the building blocks of all matter. Why don’t we read from the beginning of the book?

“THE PERIODIC TABLE is the universal catalog of everything you can drop on your foot. There are some things such as light, love, logic and time that are not in the periodic table, but you cannot drop any of those on your foot. The earth, this book, your foot–everything tangible–is made of elements. Your foot is made mostly of oxygen with quite a bit of carbon joining it, giving structure to the organic molecules that define you as an example of carbon-based life. (And if you’re not a carbon-based life form: welcome to our planet! If you have a foot, please don’t drop this book on it.)”

S: So the book starts with an introduction to the periodic table.

C: Yes, in the beginning of the book, there are seven pages of information about the periodic table. In the next two pages, they talk about s-orbitals, p-orbitals, d-orbitals, and f-orbitals.

S: What are those?

C: The shape of the shells that electron clouds make around the center of the atom. The seed of the atom!

S: Yes, it is called the nucleus in English, but it is in the middle, like a central seed, like a peach would have.

C: Or a cherry! A watermelon would not work though, because watermelons have many seeds. But I like watermelons!

S: I know! But let us get back to the book. After these few pages of introduction material on chemistry, the rest of the book is …

C: about each element! Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, Neon.

S: Yes those are the first ten elements.

C: So each element has two pages, all the way up to Einsteinium and Fermium, which have numbers 99 and 100.

S: Yes, those are the atomic numbers. They count how many protons the element has in each of its atoms. So yes, each of the first hundred elements gets its own two-page spread.

C: Wait! No! Aluminum (13) and Titanium (22) get four pages! Iron (26) gets four pages too! Copper (29), Tungsten (74), Gold (79), Lead (82), Uranium (92) all have four pages to themselves. They’re greedy!

S: I guess so. But they are also important elements. Or at least the author thinks they are. Or maybe he just likes them… So what is your favorite element Caramel?

C: I have two. Titanium (22) and Uranium (92).

Caramel is reading about Titanium, one of his favorite elements, in  The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray.
Caramel is reading about Titanium, one of his favorite elements, in The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray.

S: So what did you learn about Titanium from this book?

C: Titanium is strong but light. You can make golf clubs, and artificial hip joints from Titanium. You can use it on razor blades. You can also use it in dental implants. Then you have a titanium tooth!

S: I might! You’re right! Maybe we can stop here, before we give away more private health information, no?

C: Yeah, I guess so. So here are my last words for this review: Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel is still enjoying reading about elements and looking at the beautiful pictures in The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray.
Caramel is still enjoying reading about elements and looking at the beautiful pictures in The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray.