Caramel reviews From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea by Kai Cheng Thom

For his first review back, Caramel grabbed a book from a pile of books on Sprinkles’s desk for which she has been planning a joint review and decided he wanted to review it. The book From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, written by Kai Cheng Thom and illustrated by Wai-Yant Li and Kai Yun Ching, is about a young child and their identity. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions—and she is still planning a review of the remaining books on her pile on this topic for the near future.

Caramel reviews From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, written by Kai Cheng Thom and illustrated by Wai-Yant Li and Kai Yun Ching.
Caramel reviews From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, written by Kai Cheng Thom and illustrated by Wai-Yant Li and Kai Yun Ching.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, you grabbed this book from my pile and decided you want to review it yourself. Why?

Caramel: I like it. I like the creatures in it. The illustrations.

S: You are right, the illustrations are neat. They have beautiful colors and they remind one of being in a dream.

C: This book is a good book if you like mythical animals.

S: Okay, I see what you did there. That is the kind of thing Marshmallow says about books when she is reviewing them. But where do you find mythical animals in this book?

C: In the pictures!

S: Tell me more about the book Caramel.

C: There is a child named Miu Lan in this book. They are not a boy nor a girl.

S: Are they a mythical creature themselves then?

C: Sort of. Basically they are.

S: But not really, right? Because this can happen sometimes, and a child may not feel like they are a boy or a girl or a little bit of both or neither.

C: Yes, but I think Miu Lan is actually a mythical creature, because they can change their form when they want. When they want to, they can grow a turtle shell and porcupine quills.

Caramel is looking at the pages in From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea (written by Kai Cheng Thom and illustrated by Wai-Yant Li and Kai Yun Ching) where Miu Lan is going to school for the first time and they are so excited that "they grew a tail of peacock feathers and a coat of tiger stripes".
Caramel is looking at the pages in From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea (written by Kai Cheng Thom and illustrated by Wai-Yant Li and Kai Yun Ching) where Miu Lan is going to school for the first time and they are so excited that “they grew a tail of peacock feathers and a coat of tiger stripes”.

C: And they can also fly!

S: Yes, I love how they have scales and feathers or wings or stripes as they wish. It is pretty exciting to think about. But do you really think they are doing those things when they claim they are?

C: Probably not. But it would be cool if we could do that, wouldn’t it?

S: I think so, too. I’d especially like to be able to fly.

C: As bunnies we can at least jump pretty high…

S: Again, true. But back to Miu Lan. I don’t think they are a mythical being any more than you or me. But there are two little creatures that show up on each page that look like mythical beasts themselves.

C: Yes. There is a dog with a fish tail, or maybe a whale tail. I don’t know. I think that is the best creature in the book.

S: There is also a poem that the mother sings to her child every other page and we hear it resonate through the story, like in a retelling of a myth, where you would have repeated verses. Can you read that poem to me?

C: Okay let me find it. Ah, here we go:

whatever you dream of,
i believe you can be,
from the stars in the sky to the fish in the sea.
you can crawl like a crab or with feathers fly high,
and i'll always be here, i'll be near, standing by,
and you know that i'll love you till the day that i die. 
whatever you dream of,
i believe you can be,
for you are my child, courageous and free. 

S: That is beautiful Caramel, isn’t it?

C: Yes but it is not the best sleeping poem, because I don’t think I want to think of you dying before I go to sleep.

S: I can see that, but saying “I’ll love you till I die” is something people say when they love someone so deeply and so unconditionally, that they want to make sure the person knows their love will always be there as long as that person lives. I can see how the death part might be off-putting. Other than that, do you like the poem?

C: Yes. Other than the death part I like it.

S: So the book is about this child Mui Lan who is different from other children in their school and they try to fit in and find friends and have some difficulties.

C: Yes. But in the end things work out. They do make friends.

S: That is true. This is a beautiful story. Maybe I will read it to you again tonight.

C: Yes, yes, yes, yes, I’d like that!

S: So now are we ready to wrap up this review?

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

Caramel enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures in From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, written by Kai Cheng Thom and illustrated by Wai-Yant Li and Kai Yun Ching.
Caramel enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures in From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, written by Kai Cheng Thom and illustrated by Wai-Yant Li and Kai Yun Ching.

Caramel reviews Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor

Caramel reviews Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael Lopez.

Caramel enjoys picture books even though he is now able to read some chapter books on his own too. Today he is reviewing another neat picture book, Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael Lopez. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael Lopez.
Caramel reviews Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael Lopez.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, what is this book about?

Caramel: It’s about being different.

S: In what way?

C: In many ways. Some children can have diabetes, some can have dyslexia, some have Down Syndrome, and some of them can be deaf or blind. And some kids might have autism.

S: So there are many different ways to be different. Right?

C: Yeah. You can like plants or dinosaurs, or you can like technology. (I like technology a lot!)

S: So what happens in the book?

C: The first person who is talking is called Sonia and she has diabetes.

S: So is thar the author, do you think?

C: Maybe.

S: Yeah, I actually think it is her. Sonia Sotomayor was diagnosed with diabetes when she was a child. Do you know who Sonia Sotomayor is?

C: Not quite.

S: Well the book jacket explains who she is, but I can also tell you. Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina Justice in the United States Supreme Court. Marshmallow and I read another book by her at some point. She also has a real neat video with Abby from Sesame Street, where they are talkng about the word “career”:

S: Have you seen it?

C: Oh yes, I remember that one! Marshmallow loves that video, she also loves Abby!

S: That is true! But why do you think a supreme court justice would write this kind of a book for kids?

C: Is she retired?

S: No. She is still very much on the court. Any other thoughts?

C: Hmm. I can’t think of anything.

S: Well, from the book I read with Marshmallow, I learned that Sotomayor felt very different from other kids because of her diabetes. Can you imagine why that could lead her to write this book?

C: I think she wants all kids to feel unique and not bad because they are different.

S: Yes.

C: I will read you the very end, when Sonia is back talking to us:

Imagine of all the plants in this garden were exactly the same–like what if we only could grow peas? That would mean no strawberries or cucumbers or carrots. It might also mean no trees or roses or sunflowers.

S: Why would that be bad?

C: I’m reading, hold on, don’t interrupt. Here is Sonia again:

Just like in our garden, all the ways we are different make our neighborhood–our whole world really–more interesting and fun. And just like all of these plants, each of us has unique powers to share with the world and make it more interesting and richer.

S: That is a neat message, don’t you think?

C: Yes. I’m glad you didn’t interrupt me again.

S: I’m sorry! Alright, so tell us a bit more about the book then.

C: The book is a very colorful book. Very very colorful. And the children are of many different colors too. They have different skin colors, but they all have black eyes.

S: That’s interesting how you noticed that Caramel. Yes, the book is really colorful, and the pictures are really fun and joyful, right?

C: Yes, the illustrator Rafael Lopez must be a real good illustrator.

S: Yes! And there is also a Spanish version of the same book, for bunnies who read Spanish. All in all, we both enjoyed this book, right?

C: Yes! So it is now time to say: Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel really enjoyed reading Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael Lopez.
Caramel really enjoyed reading Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael Lopez.