Caramel reviews Engineering: An Illustrated History from Ancient Craft to Modern Technology, edited by Tom Jackson

Caramel loves to read and review books which are about real things, see his reviews of books on samurai, dinosaurs, knights and castles, and dental health . He also loves building and making things. So it was only natural that when he discovered Engineering: An Illustrated History from Ancient Craft to Modern Technology, edited by Tom Jackson, in the book bunnies’ home library, he had to read it immediately. Below he shares some of his thoughts on this reference text. Sprinkles is taking notes as usual and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Engineering: An Illustrated History from Ancient Craft to Modern Technology, edited by Tom Jackson.
Caramel reviews Engineering: An Illustrated History from Ancient Craft to Modern Technology, edited by Tom Jackson.

Sprinkles: How should we start this review Caramel?

Caramel: You just did!

S: Yeah, I did, didn’t I? So what next? What do you want to say about this book?

C: It’s a good book. If you are a bunny who wants to be an engineer when you grow up, this might be the book for you.

S: Why do you say that?

C: The book has a bunch of engineering examples.

S: Yes, the back cover advertises “100 achievements that changed history”. So there are 100 different engineering-related entries in the book, going more or less in chronological order. That means they are listed from the oldest to the newest. Can you tell us a few of your favorites?

C: 65 is Jet Power and it is one of my favorites. But my favorite in the whole book is 73: SR-71 Blackbird.

S: What is that?

C: It’s a spy plane.

S: What does that mean?

C: It means they spy on the enemy. It says it is radar-absorbing, which makes it harder to detect. I also like 82: Stealth Plane, a lot.

Caramel is pointing at one of his favorite entries in Engineering: An Illustrated History from Ancient Craft to Modern Technology: Stealth Planes.

C: And there is 75: Apollo Spacecraft. The NASA program for it was launched in 1961, it says.

S: And there is more information on it on Wikipedia in case others are interested. So each of these entries is about one page, right?

C: Yes. Exactly one page. And there are pictures and I like looking at them. 

S: Then there is text, describing the entry, and telling some of its history, right?

C: Yes. 

S: So what is the first entry?

C: Let me see. First there is some stuff about engineering and applied science. Then they start with 1: Stone Technology. And 2 is Taming Fire. 3 is The First Boats

S: Wow! It goes way back! So how far back does it go?

C: It goes way back. Let me read the beginning of 1 to you:

“Engineering with stone technology is older than the human race. Distant ancestors of homo sapiens (modern humans) began making and using stone tools as long as 3.3 million years ago.”

S: That is a long time ago. To compare, do you remember how long ago the dinosaurs went extinct? 

C: About sixty-five million years ago. I already reviewed a book about them!

S: So dinosaurs were around even earlier. 

C: That’s for sure. 

S: So what is the last achievement they list in the book?

C: 100 is Solar Power. Then there is a long section called Engineering 101: The Basics.

S: What’s in that section? 

C: There is a part named Imponderables where they ask questions like: “Will space planes change transportation?”, “What will graphene do for us?”, “Will we run out of raw materials?”, “Can engineering solve climate change?”, “Can screens replace paper?”

S: Very interesting questions. The one about screens and paper is about books and reading, I think. We still love reading paper books, right?

C: Yes. This book for instance. It has lots of colorful pictures I can look at. 

S: Screens could have colored pictures, too, of course, but holding a book in your paws is a neat experience. So are we done with the review? 

C: Yes. Stay tuned for more Book Bunnies adventures!

Caramel really enjoys reading sections from Engineering: An Illustrated History from Ancient Craft to Modern Technology, edited by Tom Jackson.
Caramel really enjoys reading sections from Engineering: An Illustrated History from Ancient Craft to Modern Technology, edited by Tom Jackson.

Caramel reviews My Teacher is a Robot by Jeffrey Brown

Caramel is going to have a new teacher this school year, and so Sprinkles thought he might find it amusing to read about a little boy who thinks his teacher is a robot. Below Caramel talks about his thoughts on My Teacher is a Robot by Jeffrey Brown. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews My Teacher is a Robot by Jeffrey Brown.
Caramel reviews My Teacher is a Robot by Jeffrey Brown.

Sprinkles: I thought you might find this book about a little boy and his teacher amusing Caramel.

Caramel: Yes. I did find it fun to read. It was funny.

S: What is it about?

C: A little boy named Fred and his teacher Mr. Bailey.

S: So what happens to Fred and Mr. Bailey?

C: Fred keeps thinking that Mr. Bailey is a robot.

S: Why?

C: I don’t know.

S: Does Mr. Bailey look like a robot?

C: No but they can make robots that look like humans.

S: Ok, so what about Mr. Bailey makes Fred concerned?

C: I don’t know really.

S: I guess Fred likes to live in an imaginary world, doesn’t he?

C: Yes. This imaginary world is super duper funny. For example, when Mr. Bailey tells them it’s time for history, Fred gets excited and imagines the class pet gold fish is a pre-historic sea creature.

S: Yes, that part is exceptionally funny, right? When Mr. Bailey says history, Fred thinks maybe they’ll talk about dinosaurs. Do they?

C: No. They do the history of Japan.

S: You know some things about the history of Japan, don’t you Caramel?

C: Yep. I even reviewed a book about samurai on this blog.

S: Yes, that was a neat book and a neat review. So when they are talking about Japan, what happens to the classroom?

C: The kids do all sorts of things about Japan. Two of them do a tea ceremony. Then there is a cherry blossom tree and a samurai, and a sumo wrestler. Or at least a kid named Scooter who says:

Who wants to sumo wrestle?

S: And the whole room transforms, right? Do you think there is an actual cherry tree in the classroom?

C: No, I think it’s all stuff Fred is imagining.

S: Or maybe Fred and his classmates all together, right? There is a little girl (I think her name is Charlotte) sitting in the middle of a sand meditation garden. Do you think that that meditation garden is really in the classroom?

C: No. Of course not.

S: Do you think Charlotte is really riding a unicorn at the very end and the mud monsters are really attacking the kids when they’re in the playground?

C: No! They are all pretend. But they could actually have made the mud monsters themselves, right?

S: Yeah, that’s true.

Caramel is looking at one of the fun pages in My Teacher is a Robot where the kids are all in the school playground and are being attacked by the mud monsters.
Caramel is looking at one of the fun pages in My Teacher is a Robot where the kids are all in the school playground and are being attacked by the mud monsters.

S: So do you think Mr. Bailey is really a robot?

C: No. I don’t think so.

S: Well maybe that’s just another way Fred makes his life more interesting. If your teacher is a robot, then school becomes a bit more ….

C: Interesting! But I’m not sure I want my teacher to be a robot.

S: I’m quite sure you do not have to worry about that. You’re meeting your new teacher very soon, right?

C: Yes. I already know her name, but I don’t know much else about her.

S: Well, I think you at least know she’s not a robot.

C: Actually I don’t. Eek!

S: Ok, Caramel. How about we wrap up this review here and then you report back when you figure it all out and tell us if your new teacher is a robot or not?

C: Ok. Stay tuned for more book bunny adventures!

P.S. added August 29 2019: Caramel is happy to report that no, his new teacher is not a robot, and is in fact a really nice person.

Caramel enjoyed reading My Teacher is a Robot by Jeffrey Brown.
Caramel enjoyed reading My Teacher is a Robot by Jeffrey Brown.

Caramel reviews Colette’s Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault

Caramel reviewed Isabelle Arsenault’s Albert’s Quiet Quest last week. This week he wanted to review the first book in the Mile End Kids series: Colette’s Lost Pet. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Colette's Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault.
Caramel reviews Colette’s Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault.

Sprinkles: Let us start. What do you want to tell us about this book Caramel?

Caramel: If you like birds this might be a good book for you.

S: Now you’re channeling Marshmallow! What do you mean?

C: Colette’s supposedly lost pet is a giant parakeet.

S: Wait, wait! Who is Colette? And does she have a giant parakeet?

C: Nope she doesn’t. She’s lying. To get friends.

S: Hmm, so you think she is lying to get friends? But that doesn’t sound like such a great idea…

C: I know. But she says something and then it grows into this big story about a giant parakeet. An elaborate lie.

S: That’s a big word for a little bunny Caramel! Yes, the story does get more and more elaborate as Colette meets more and more kids on the Mile End neighborhood. Right?

C: Yup. I think she just wants a pet, just like Marshmallow. And in the beginning her mom says:

“No Colette! For the last time NO PET!”

S: So Colette goes out and tries to meet the kids in her new neighborhood. And do you think the kids believe she has a giant parakeet?

C: I don’t know. The story does get a little bit too elaborate in some parts.

Caramel is pointing at a particularly spectacular page where Colette is telling her elaborate story about her non-existent parakeet.
Caramel is pointing at a particularly spectacular page where Colette is telling her elaborate story about her non-existent parakeet.

S: So a bit too unbelievable, right?

C: Yup. At some point she says her parakeet can surf!

S: Well, she doesn’t quite say that, but the picture she draws leads the kids to decide the bird can surf, and she doesn’t deny it. Right?

C: Yes. But the kids are having a lot of fun. I think they actually think that she has a ginormous parakeet. Or at least they want to believe that.

S: Kind of like in Albert’s Quiet Quest where Albert wants to believe he is on a beach, right?

C: Yes. These kids have big imaginations.

S: Like you, Caramel! You too dream of big strange things.

C: Yeah. Like ginormous dragons, and other mythical creatures that I dream up.

S: Yes. So how else is this book connected to the one we read last week?

C: Well, this book is not as orange and blue as the other one, but it is yellow and gray. Though there are some tiny specs of blue here and there too.

S: Yes, the pages display only a few simple colors again, right? What else?

C: Colette appears in that other book too. And Albert shows up in this one!

S: Yes, these are both stories about the kids living in a neighborhood named Mile End. Wikipedia tells us that there is a Mile End neighborhood in London and another in Montreal. The one these books are about should be the one in Montreal, because according to the back cover notes about her, the author / illustrator Isabelle Arsenault lives there.

C: But it does not really matter. These are good books anyways, no matter where they’re supposed to be. And they are about kids everywhere, playing.

S: And being imaginative and just being kids themselves.

C: Yes. And this is a good place to wrap up our review.

S: I agree. And what do you want to say now?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny adventures!

Caramel enjoyed reading Colette's Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault.
Caramel enjoyed reading Colette’s Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault.

Caramel reviews Albert’s Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault

Caramel has recently gotten his paws on a few books by Isabelle Arsenault. Below he reviews Albert’s Quiet Quest. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Albert's Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault.
Caramel reviews Albert’s Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, what is this book about?

Caramel: It’s about a boy named Albert who wants to read a book. And inside of his house is too noisy so he goes out to find a quiet place to read.

S: That sounds like our home sometimes, right? We do make a lot of noise.

C: Yeah. We are noisy bunnies.

S: So this Albert wants to find a quiet place to read. Have you ever felt like that yourself?

C: Yep. Sometimes when I am trying to calm myself down, I want it to be quiet.

S: But it is not always quiet, right? So you could totally appreciate how Albert must have felt.

C: Yep. So he goes out and looks for a place to read.

S: Does he find it?

C: Yes. He goes to an alley way and finds a painting of a beach.

S: Then he pulls a chair to sit across from the painting and dreams that he is on that beach, right?

C: Yep.

S: What happens then? Can he read in peace and quiet?

C: No not really. Many friends come by and ask him to help them. They ask him to play with them and so on.

Caramel is looking at the page when things get a little too noisy on Albert's "beach".
Caramel is looking at the page when things get a little too noisy on Albert’s “beach”.

S: So he gets kind of mad at them, right?

C: Yes. He screams: “That’s it! Quiet! For Pete’s sake, can’t someone read a book around here or what?!”

Caramel is looking at the page when Albert loses his cool.
Caramel is looking at the page when Albert loses his cool.

S: Hmm, that is not terribly nice, is it? He is understandably upset but he doesn’t need to scream at people.

C: Ah, Sprinkles. This sounds like somebody familiar. You too sometimes get pretty annoyed and scream!

S: Hmm. So I do. It is hard to keep one’s cool sometimes, right?

C: Yep. I get mad too sometimes.

S: Well, that’s kind of why we read all those books about training your angry dragon, right?

C: Yes.

S: What happens to Albert afterwards?

C: His friends get mad at him too. And then they all laugh together.

S: So this is a happy end, right?

C: Yes.

S: So did you like the book?

C: Yep. It’s a good book. It is kind of like a comic book, but the pictures are more like drawing than comics.

S: The color scheme is also very distinctive. All blues and oranges and grays and whites.

C: It’s mostly white. And orange is my favorite color. It’s awesome!

S: So you liked the pictures too, right?

C: Yes. I really liked the part where he is thinking of the beach.

S: Yes, he looks so calm and peaceful there.

C: Yes, he puts his hands behind his head and he is smiling. It’s like he is saying: “This is the life!”

S: Yes! You’re right.

C: And this is our life. And it is time to say: “Stay tuned for more book bunny adventures!”

Caramel really enjoyed reading Albert's Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault.
Caramel really enjoyed reading Albert’s Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault.