Caramel reviews The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes

Caramel has already reviewed the graphic novel versions of the first three books of Tui Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series. (See Caramel’s review of The Dragonet Prophesy here; his review of The Lost Heir is here; and finally his review of The Hidden Kingdom is here.) Today, for his last review for 2020 (and the last review of the book bunnies until February 2021), he decided to review the fourth book in the series that appeared (just yesterday!) as a graphic novel: The Dark Secret (adapted by Barry Deutsch and Rachel Swirsky, art work by Mike Holmes, color by Maarta Laiho). As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions as needed.

Caramel reviews The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.
Caramel reviews The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, I saw you were so eager to get your paws on this book as soon as possible. Was it worth the wait?

Caramel: Yup. Most definitely.

S: So you have read it once so far. What happens in this book?

C: In the beginning Starflight finds himself in the Night Kingdom because some NightWings have kidnapped him.

S: Oh then, the rest of the book is him trying to get back?

C: Nope. There is that but there are a lot of other things happening, too. They run to the rain forest and have other adventures.

S: Do we learn more about the prophesy in this book?

C: Yes, apparently, it’s … oops, I should not spoil it for the readers. But yes, we learn a lot of new things that I didn’t know.

S: At least tell us: are they interesting and surprising?

C: Yep yep yep!

Caramel is reading The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.
Caramel is reading The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.

S: Tell me more about Starflight. Did we meet him before in one of the earlier books?

C: Yes, of course. He is one of the five dragons the prophesy says will save the world. Remember, he is a NightWing but cannot tell the future or read minds like most others can.

S: So each of the books tells the adventures of one of these five dragons, right?

C: Right. The first one was about Clay, the MudWing. The second was about Tsunami, the SeaWing. The third was about Glory, the RainWing. And this is about Starflight, the NightWing. Then of course the fifth one should be about Sunny, who is a SandWing.

S: That seems to me to be a good narrative strategy for series. I do hope you will some day read the books these graphic novels are based upon, too. I expect those will have a lot more details about these characters and their world.

C: Yes, I think I will some day. But for now I want to read the graphic novels over and over again.

S: Okay then. We can wrap up this review so you can read it again.

C: Sure.

S: We should also remind our readers that we will be off for January 2021, and we will be back in February 2021.

C: Yes! Happy new year everyone! And stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel has very much enjoyed reading The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes, and is looking forward to rereading it over and over through the holidays. .
Caramel has very much enjoyed reading The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes, and is looking forward to rereading it over and over through the holidays. .

Marshmallow reviews Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

This week Marshmallow reviews a recent book by Yoon Ha Lee: Dragon Pearl.

Marshmallow reviews Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee.
Marshmallow reviews Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee.

Marshmallow’s Overview: If you like books about mythology and space, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): 13-year-old Min learns that her brother, Jun, is accused of deserting the Space Force in search of the Dragon Pearl. Min knows that her brother would never leave the Space Force, the organization that he always wanted to be a part of ever since he was a little boy. Even if he knew where the Dragon Pearl was. (The Dragon Pearl is a legendary object that can transform a whole planet in a day. In this story world, dragons exist and they have “Terraforming powers”, but they take year to terraform a planet.) So Min decides that something must have gone wrong. To prove that her brother did not desert the Space Force she leaves her home planet, Jinju, and goes in search of her brother.

Min is eventually able to find the ship that her brother was on when he “deserted”. She also finds her brother, but it is not how she wanted or expected to find him.

Marshmallow is reading Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee.
Marshmallow is reading Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a good book that is a mix of Korean mythology, science fiction, and fantasy. There are fox spirits, dragons, and interesting theories about how machines run in the story universe. (Apparently, they run on an energy that is called “gi” that is like the blood of their machines and ships.) 

In the first page, we learn that Min is a “fox spirit”. In Korean mythology, a fox spirit is a magical being that has the ability to transform into anything they want to transform into. They are also able to “Charm” others which is to make others trust them or feel angry, sad, or happy and other feelings. So, basically they can “Charm” others to feel certain feelings. 

The School Library Journal praised the book with the following words, which summarize the book well:

Lee skillfully weaves Korean folklore into this space opera narrative, creating dynamics and relatable characters. VERDICT: With ghosts, pirates, and a rollicking space adventure, there’s a little something for everyone here.

The School Library Journal, https://www.slj.com/?reviewDetail=dragon-pearl

Reading Dragon Pearl may encourage you to learn more about Korean Mythology because we read about many interesting creatures. Min’s friends who are helping her find the Dragon Pearl so it does not fall into the wrong hands are, like her, magical creatures. (Hanuel is a dragon who can transform into a human but she is in human form most of the time. Sujin is a goblin.)

This book might be better for readers that are 10 and older because there are gamblers and guns. There are also ghosts in the story, which might scare some readers, too. It also might be a little confusing for younger readers but overall this is a very interesting and entertaining book.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 90%.

Marshmallow rates Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee 90%.
Marshmallow rates Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee 90%.

Caramel reviews Drawn Together by Minh Le and Dan Santat

Caramel reviews Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.

Caramel has reviewed The Cookie Fiasco and Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat before and enjoyed his quirky style. Today he reviews another book illustrated by Dan Santat: Drawn Together, written by Minh Le. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.
Caramel reviews Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, tell me about this book.

Caramel: It is a very interesting book about this boy. He doesn’t really like his grandfather.

S: Or at least we know he doesn’t seem to enjoy spending time with him. Right?

C: Yes.

S: Why is that?

C: He thinks that time with him is boring.

S: How so?

C: They eat different things. The boy is eating hot dog with mustard. and the grandfather is eating noodles and eggs.

S: So they are eating different things. But there is a bigger problem, right? Can they communicate?

C: No. They speak different languages.

S: Yes, the boy speaks English and the grandfather seems to only speak Thai. That might make things difficult, right?

C: Yes.

S: You are lucky that you can communicate with your grandfather, but this boy’s grandfather seems to have difficulty speaking English. So they watch TV. How does that turn out?

C: The boy asks “Can we watch something else?” So he is bored.

S: Yes, so they don’t enjoy the same food and they don’t enjoy the same TV programs. That is sad a bit, right? You do like watching TV with your grandpa.

C: Yep, I sure do!

Caramel is looking at the front cover of Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.
Caramel is looking at the front cover of Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.

S: So the boy is staying with his grandfather and is bored because he cannot communicate with him and he doesn’t think they have anything in common. Then what happens?

C: The boy takes some crayons out of his backpack and starts drawing. Then the grandfather takes out a sketch pad and a brush. It looks old fashioned but he can draw amazing things with it.

S: Yes, the things he can draw are very intricate, very detailed, right?

C: Yes. And I am surprised that this book is illustrated by Dan Santat, because the drawings don’t look like the ones in his other books I reviewed: The Cookie Fiasco and Harold and Hog Pretend for Real!

S: Well, that shows that he is a versatile illustrator, right? He can draw things in many different styles.

C: Yes, he can draw amazing things! He draws awesome dragons!

S: Yes apparently Thai dragons, like Chinese and Japanese dragons, are magical and have super powers. We saw some impressive images on Google. And the dragons in this book are just as amazing!

C: Yes. And then the boy and his grandfather start making art together. And the boy has color but his grandfather’s brush is one color only. But when they paint together, they both have colors.

Caramel is pointing to some of the artwork that the boy and his grandpa create together in  Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.
Caramel is pointing to some of the artwork that the boy and his grandpa create together in Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.

S: So what happens in the end?

C: They hug.

S: So even though they cannot communicate by talking …

C: They can communicate by hugging…

S: And by drawing! And when the boy’s mom comes to pick him up, it seems like the boy won’t be bored next time, right?

C: Right.

S: So did you like the book?

C: Yeah. It has bright colors and amazing drawings.

S: And a sweet story! So it is time to wrap up this review. What do you want to say Caramel?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel enjoyed reading Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.
Caramel enjoyed reading Drawn Together, written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat.

Caramel reviews The Hidden Kingdom (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes

Caramel reviews the graphic novel version of The Hidden Kingdom (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland (with art work by Mike Holmes).

Caramel has already reviewed the graphic novel versions of the first two books of Tui Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series. (See Caramel’s review of The Dragonet Prophesy here; his review of The Lost Heir is here.) Today he reviews the third book in the series that appeared as a graphic novel: The Hidden Kingdom (adapted by Barry Deutsch and Rachel Swirsky, art work by Mike Holmes, color by Maarta Laiho). As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions as needed.

Caramel reviews The Hidden Kingdom (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.
Caramel reviews The Hidden Kingdom (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.

Sprinkles: So this is the third book of the series you have read, right, Caramel?

Caramel: Yes. But I am not done. I’m still keeping busy flipping through the pages.

S: But you have read it at least once all the way, right?

C: Yes, I have. But I like reading these books over and over again.

S: Why is that?

C: I think these Wings of Fire books are really awesome. I love the pictures, the books are really very colorful.

Caramel enjoys reading and also looking at the pictures of The Hidden Kingdom, (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.
Caramel enjoys reading and also looking at the pictures of The Hidden Kingdom, (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.

S: What about the story? What is happening in this third book?

C: All of the books are about the five dragons we met in the first book. But of course there are always some new characters.

S: Tell me more. Who is the central character of this book?

C: Glory. She is a RainWing. They are supposed to be lazy and almost stupid, but Glory is smart. RainWings have venom, and can camouflage. They can also turn invisible.

S: So what is happening to Glory in this book? Is she also destined to be the queen of her tribe, like Tsunami from the second book?

C: She is.

S: So is trouble awaiting her when she comes home, like it did Tsunami?

C: Yes and no. Not quite trouble but there are some challenges she has to face.

S: Like what?

C: She has to find a specific flower in a flower hunt. They go through these challenges in teams.

S: So does Glory also make some good friends along the way?

C: Yes. Glory makes at least two good friends. One of them is Kinkajou, who is at some point in this book kidnapped, but they eventually find her. And another new friend is Mangrove. He is grumpy at first because his partner is missing.

S: So some RainWings are going missing. And Glory and her friends try to find them, right?

C: No, Glory has to do it alone. And she has another friend, too. I forgot. Her name is Tamarin. She is blind, but she wins the flower hunt. She has a very good sense of smell.

S: These books seem like a lot is going on in each of them. Lots of action, lots of mystery, right?

C: Yup. Do you want me to tell you who is kidnapping the RainWings?

S: No! We should not spoil it for our readers!

C: Well, ok. Then I guess we can just wrap things up. Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel is still reading and rereading The Hidden Kingdom (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.
Caramel is still reading and rereading The Hidden Kingdom (Book Three of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.