Caramel reviews Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

Today Caramel reviews Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon, that brings together the 1948 classic My Father’s Dragon, and its two sequels, Elmer and the Dragon (1950) and The Dragons of Blueland (1951), all written by Ruth Stiles Gannett and illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Three Tales of My Father's Dragon, written by Ruth Stiles Gannett and illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett.
Caramel reviews Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon, written by Ruth Stiles Gannett and illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, tell me about this book.

Caramel: This book is nice if you like happy books and dragons.

S: Oh, so it is a happy book about dragons?

C: Yes and no. It’s also about Elmer Elevator, who meets a cat, who tells him about a dragon. Then Elmer goes and finds this dragon.

S: So is Elmer the father in the title?

C: Yes. The first part of the book is told by someone who calls Elmer “my father”. It makes it sound like it is a true story that happened to someone’s dad.

S: Hmm, so the narrator of the first book, My Father’s Dragon, is Elmer’s child, right?

C: Yes. And Elmer is a nine year old boy when things are happening.

S: So it really reads like you are hearing a tale that Elmer told his child and that child grew up and is telling you the story. And then the remaining two books are told in the third person, right?

C: Yes. There is no narrator calling Elmer “my father” anymore. Elmer is only a boy in those two parts.

S: I see. So then Elmer finds this dragon and they get to be friends?

C: Yes. The dragon has blue and yellow stripes and has a long tail and has red eyes and red feet.

S: That’s a very colorful dragon!

C: Yup. The cat helps Elmer devise a plan to help the dragon and Elmer goes and saves the dragon. The first part of the book is all about Elmer finding the dragon. Then they become friends, and in the second book, they are stuck in an island. Then the dragon takes Elmer home, and in the third part of the book he goes to his own home, Blueland. And then there is some trouble there, and Elmer helps him.

S: That sounds like a sweet story.

C: Yes, I think so.

Caramel is reading Three Tales of My Father's Dragon, written by Ruth Stiles Gannett and illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett.
Caramel is reading Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon, written by Ruth Stiles Gannett and illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett.

S: So you have read a lot of books about dragons. Does the dragon in this book resemble any dragons you know of?

C: Not really. This dragon is completely different. He does talk, and he is very colorful, like he is wearing striped PJs, dragon-sized and shaped of course. And I don’t think he can breathe fire or anything.

S: Do any one of Elmer’s family or friends meet this dragon?

C: No.

S: So is Elmer the only human involved in the stories?

C: Yes. There are canaries, there is the cat, there is an adult gorilla, and six baby gorillas, but there are not any other humans in the story. I mean, some show up, but they don’t really play a role in the story.

S: That is interesting. Somehow a lot of the things you are telling me about this book remind me of another classic Marshmallow had reviewed way back: Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater, There were humans in that story, but the tone of the book and the happiness you are talking about reminded me of that one. Anyways, did you enjoy reading this book?

C: Yes. I especially liked the pictures.

S: Oh, tell me more.

C: They are all black and white, but they are very detailed and I could see exactly what Elmer and his dragon look like.

S: That sounds great Caramel. Would you have enjoyed being friends with Elmer and the dragon?

C: Yep. They are both fun and nice.

S: So did you know that there is apparently a 1997 animated movie version of this story?

C: Yes, we just found it, but it is in Japanese!

S: Yes, so we could not really watch it and understand it fully, but it was nice to look at, wasn’t it?

C: Yes. Let’s put it in here!

S: Sure. We can put a link to it. Here it is: https://youtu.be/5obEfjUyr6k. We might still watch it some day.

C: Especially if we learn to speak Japanese.

S: True. Okay, let us wrap up our review. What are your three words to describe this book?

C: Adventure, happy, friendship.

S: Hmm, those are not quite descriptive words, but I get your point. Thank you. So what do you want to tell our readers as we wrap things up?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel really enjoyed reading Three Tales of My Father's Dragon, written by Ruth Stiles Gannett and illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett.
Caramel really enjoyed reading Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon, written by Ruth Stiles Gannett and illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett.

Caramel reviews How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Caramel has been reviewing the books in Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon series (2001-2015) one by one. He last reviewed the tenth book in the series: How to Seize A Dragon’s Heart. Just recently he obtained copies of the last two books in the series and is getting ready to review them for the book bunnies blog. But in the meantime, he wanted to talk about a little book that Cressida Cowell wrote (or apparently, translated from the Dragonese) in 2006: How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell.
Caramel reviews How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell.

Sprinkles: Okay, Caramel, so we just read this book together, and I think at 74 pages, this is the shortest book from Cowell about Hiccup and Toothless, no?

Caramel: Yup, at least the shortest I’ve read.

S: True, there might be other books, possibly for younger folks, that might be shorter. But this is definitely shorter than the ten books you read from the How To Train Your Dragon series, right?

C: Yes. And it is not quite a part of the series really.

S: So tell our readers what this book is then.

C: This is a story told by Toothless. All the ten books I read from the series are told from Hiccup’s point of view. But this time, Toothless is telling us a story.

S: Yes, and it is a pretty neat story I thought.

C: Yes. In this story, Hiccup and Fishlegs are still pretty young and so is Toothless. The young Vikings are in a hunting competition, and they are supposed to have their dragons hunt fish for them.

S: And then what happens?

C: Toothless eats a ton of glow-worms, those are nanodragons that the hunting dragons like to eat. And don’t worry, they are not being cannibals. Nanodragons are a different species, very small and apparently delicious according to Toothless. So Toothless says it is like humans eating chicken, not like humans eating each other.

S: I see.

C: Toothless is too full to hunt but then the glow-worms in his tummy light up and help them catch lots of fish. And then …

S: Wait, don’t give away all of the details!

C: Okay, I won’t. I will stop here. I will just say that the rest of the adventure involves a DarkBreather, a horrible terrible sea monster with a huge mouth.

S: Okay, I think that is a good clue to share with our readers, just enough to whet their appetites.

C: But I do have to say DarkBreathers are scary and they drink BLOOD

S: Wow! Okay, I think we should not scare our readers too much!

C: Oh, they should not worry. It is not a scary story really, but really fun to read.

S: So quite a typical story from the How to Train Your Dragon world, right?

C: Yes, but a new one, it was not one that we had read earlier from Hiccup’s view.

Caramel is reading How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell.
Caramel is reading How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell.

S: Okay, so then let us think about the book more generally. What three words would you use to describe it?

C: Funny, adventurous, and interesting characters.

S: Well, we knew the characters from the other books already, no?

C: Yes, but hearing about them from Toothless is fun.

S: I see. And the dragons are still much smaller than the ones in the movies and the animated series, right? They are small, like big hunting birds?

C: Yes. Some are the size of an eagle or a hawk. The books are very different.

S: But I do know you like those series a lot too.

C: Yes. And I really really like one of the songs from them. Can we put a video of “This is Berk” here?

S: I think we can. Let me see. For some reason I am not able to embed the video (even though we can embed other YouTube videos to our posts), but here is a link for folks to listen if they want to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNPIih4X7SA And this is the link we have used more often: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWr0hSKLcXY Unfortunately, both have some ads at the beginning.

C: No worries. I love this music!

S: I know. Maybe you think about flying on your own dragon?

C: Sometimes.

S: A little bunny on a dragon might not be too safe.

C: Meh, nothing is safe in this world.

S: A pretty insightful statement from a little bunny, but as your mommy bunny, I am not sure I like that sentiment coming from you.

C: Aw come on. You know I am always careful!

S: I know. I know you would definitely be careful if you were flying a dragon!

C: I wish! But can we at least put a trailer of one of the movies?

S: Okay, let us try.

The trailer for How to Train Your Dragon (2010) from YouTube.

C: The movies are really fun too but I also really like the books.

S: I know! Okay, I think this is a good time to wrap up our review. I know our readers will be looking forward to your reviews of the last two books from the series.

C: Yes, they are coming! Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel loved reading How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell, and is looking forward to finishing up the original series soon.
Caramel loved reading How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell, and is looking forward to finishing up the original series soon.

Marshmallow reviews The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

This week Marshmallow reviews The Girl Who Drank the Moon, the 2016 novel by Kelly Barnhill. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Marshmallow reviews The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.
Marshmallow reviews The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

Sprinkles: This looks like an interesting book Marshmallow. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Marshmallow: This book is about a girl named Luna and a witch named Xan. Luna comes from a village that sacrifices one baby per year. The baby is left in the woods, supposedly to be taken by an evil witch who lives in the woods. But it turns out that the witch is actually Xan, and she is very kind-hearted. She travels every year to pick up the sacrificed baby, and takes it to a loving family in a different village. The children brought by Xan are called Star Children in that village because Xan feeds them starlight before their journey through the forest.

However, one year, Xan accidentally feeds one of the children moonlight. Moonlight is more powerful than starlight and it enmagicks her. In other words, she ends up with extraordinary magical powers. Xan decides to name her Luna and raise her as her own.

S: That is a very interesting premise. And I can see why the book is titled The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I’m guessing that is Luna. So does Luna know any of this?

M: Not really. Not for a long time. And she cannot hear the word “magic”.

S: That is weird. So the book is about Luna and Xan and their adventures?

M: No. Not quite. There are multiple stories that are going on at the same time. There is a guy who is determined to kill Xan for example, but he is a good person, he just wants to protect his own child. And eventually we see Luna’s real mom show up. Lots of things are happening at the same time, and Luna is trying to figure out how to use her magic.

S: Hmm, that sounds intriguing. I might want to read it too some day.

M: Yes, I think you should. It is about family, love, and who becomes your family. Luna’s family is made up of a dragon and a bog monster besides the witch Xan, and eventually she is reunited with her birth mom too. And there is a surprising twist towards the end, but I am not going to spoil things.

S: Hmm, I guess I will just have to read the book to find out for myself.

Marshmallow is reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.
Marshmallow is reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

S: So apparently there was a prequel published right around the time the book came out. What did you think of that?

M: I thought it was interesting to get some backstory on one of the characters. We should probably put links to them in our review.

S: Okay, here is the link to the first part of the prequel, and here is the second part. We should warn our readers that there are lots of popups and ads on the linked pages but the story seems to be worth it.

M: I’d say so.

S: Did this book remind you of any other books you have read or reviewed before?

M: No, I think it was quite unique. I’d say it is really a beautiful story.

S: What you did tell me so far reminded me of a couple of the stories in Soman Chaimani’s Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales. Or even the beginning of the School for Good and Evil stories. There, too, children are taken to save their villages.

M: Yes, I can see what you mean. And I do love the School for Good and Evil books. But I view this book as something quite different.

S: Okay, it is a book of its own, deserves its own place among your favorites?

M: I’d say so. I will definitely reread it at least once more.

S: So then would you be rating it 100%?

M: Yes!

S: And that is a good place to wrap up this review then. I might just grab the book and start reading it right away.

M: You do that! And our readers, they should stay tuned for more amazing reviews from the book bunnies!

Marshmallow rates The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill 100%.

Caramel reviews How to Seize A Dragon’s Jewel (Book #10 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell

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.

Caramel reviews How to Seize A Dragon’s Jewel (Book #10 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell.
Caramel reviews How to Seize A Dragon’s Jewel (Book #10 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell.

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?

C: Yep.

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!

Caramel is reading How to Seize A Dragon’s Jewel (Book #10 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell.
Caramel is reading How to Seize A Dragon’s Jewel (Book #10 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell.

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.

C: I hate them. The only sad story I liked was Charlotte’s Web.

S: But you liked this book too, no?

C: Well, I guess this counts too.

S: So do you still want to read the eleventh and the twelfth books? Or are you too scared now?

C: Maybe. I think I do want to read them. But I hope they won’t be so sad and they won’t be too much scarier.

S: I guess we will see, right?

C: Yep.

S: So let us wrap up this review. What do you want to tell our readers Caramel?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel both liked and disliked reading How to Seize A Dragon’s Jewel (Book #10 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell. He is eager to see how the stories will wrap up in the last books of the series.
Caramel both liked and disliked reading How to Seize A Dragon’s Jewel (Book #10 of How to Train Your Dragon Series) by Cressida Cowell. He is eager to see how the stories will wrap up in the last books of the series.