Marshmallow reviews Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz

Today Marshmallow is reviewing Of A Feather, a 2021 novel by Dayna Lorentz.

Marshmallow reviews Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz.
Marshmallow reviews Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about birds or family, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Reenie has been sent to live with her great-aunt, Beatrice, because her mother is unable to take care of her. Reenie can always pretend to smile, but right now she doesn’t have much to be smiling about. A social worker, named Randi, with an “i”, as Reenie describes them, is driving Reenie to this “alleged aunt”. A little after arriving, Reenie learns that her aunt is a falconer, that is, she is skilled in falconry.

Meanwhile, in the nearby forest, a young great horned owl is attempting to fly. His older sister, First, can fly and First rubs it in his face every chance she gets. Our owl, called Second, is struggling. Second can’t hunt well, either. He feels like a disappointment, and when a car hits his mother, things get even worse.

Reenie is now going to school in this new area. She wants to avoid making friends at her new school. She believes that friends are dangerous. Also, Reenie wants to believe that she will not stay with Beatrice permanently. However, she does want Beatrice to teach her how to become a falconer. So Beatrice agrees to help her. They decide to catch a “passage” bird. Instead, they catch Second. Reenie names him Rufus. But Rufus is a great horned owl, and the law in that state doesn’t allow you to train an owl. Since Rufus is injured however, they are allowed to keep him until he gets better. But they do start training him. Will they get caught?

Marshmallow is reading Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz.
Marshmallow is reading Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz.

Marshmallow’s Review: I really enjoyed reading this book even though it is often about birds catching small animals, like rabbits. Caramel is also wary of owls because of the bad owl Mr. Ocax in Poppy (though he did not mention him in his review). But here we see from the owl’s perspective and this owl is a quite likable character.

I think that the author did a great job of creating realistic characters, like Reenie. I like making friends at school but could totally get why she did not want to make friends at her new school; I could sense her loneliness and fear. All characters in Of A Feather are unique but really realistic. I think my favorite character is Rufus, because in his chapters (the book switches from Reenie’s perspective to Rufus’s and then back), he always refers to Reenie as “Brown Frizz” because he finds it strange that she only has hair on one side of her head.

I liked that the author wrote the book, partly, from the perspective of an owl. It was interesting to see what the other side of the story was like, not that the stories disagreed with each other.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading Of A Feather

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz 95%.
Marshmallow rates Of A Feather by Dayna Lorentz 95%.

Marshmallow reviews The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick

Marshmallow and Caramel have reviewed several books about school life for this blog before. Today Marshmallow wanted to talk about another book about school life: The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Marshmallow reviews The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick.
Marshmallow reviews The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick.

Sprinkles: So Marshmallow let us start with a quick summary. Can you tell us what this book is about?

Marshmallow: This book is about a kid named Maverick. He is short and people mistreat him at school. He also has some family problems. But when he starts sixth grade, he decides to try and change things. He decides to protect others who are mistreated.

S: That sounds really nice. He is not being treated well himself so he knows it feels terrible. So he decides to stand up for others so they won’t feel so lonely.

M: Yes.

S: So how does it go for him? Can he actually help other people?

M: He ends up being able to help, but at the start, he is always getting in trouble. He tries to stand up for others, but usually those people are not very appreciative or grateful. And there is really a lot going on at home. His mom is single and keeps making poor choices for boyfriends. They hit her and she is not always able to stand up to them and Maverick sees this and feels terrible that he is unable to protect his mom.

S: Yes, Maverick’s life is really hard, right? His mom is also always either working very hard at an unstable job or is out of work. Mom and son love each other and are usually kind to one another, but the home is not safe or comfortable.

M: Maverick does not have too many adults to trust, but he does have his aunt, and then eventually he finds another trusted grownup at school. I’m not telling who because I don’t want to give away all the details.

S: I agree. I think this gives people a good sense of the type of book this is.

M: Yes. Except that the book is also really really funny.

S: Yes, I will agree with that too. I was really really sad at some point while reading and then the next sentence made me laugh out loud. Maverick is a sincere, modest, and hilarious narrator.

M: That is true. His voice reminds me a bit of Percy Jackson.

S: How so?

M: They have the same sense of humor I think.

S: I guess so. I think they both are good at self-deprecating humor. And Percy has a lot of difficulties to fit in at school before he figures out he is a demigod. So maybe there is that too. Both Percy and Maverick are kids who did not start out life with things going easy for them.

M: Yes. I think so.

Marshmallow is reading The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick.
Marshmallow is reading The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick.

S: So what else would you like to say about this book? Did you enjoy reading it?

M: I enjoyed reading it, but I do think it is for older bunnies. Maverick’s life is very hard, and some kids might not be mature enough to read about domestic abuse and alcoholism and such.

S: Of course there are a lot of kids who have to live with these things, so for those kids, there is no way to avoid learning about them at any age.

M: That is true. I think maybe for those kids the book might also be good. There are good things that happen in the book too, and some of the difficulties are overcome.

S: So maybe for kids whose lives are difficult in these ways and in other ways, too, this might be a good book because it shows them that other people also suffer, and maybe kindness, Maverick’s way of trying to handle life, is still an option.

M: Yes.

S: The assistant principal at Maverick’s school has a little reminder in his office, a sentence on his wall:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

page 67

I think it is a good summary of the main message of this book.

M: I think so too.

S: It seems that the author was inspired by a real person while writing this book. There are so many people who have really difficult lives, yet they never lose their kindness. It is hard but those people do it. This book is a good reminder.

M: Yes.

S: So let us wrap things up. How would you rate this book Marshmallow?

M: Hmm, let me see. It gets a bit hard to read sometimes, because it is so sad sometimes. But it is a good book overall. So I rate it 95%.

Marshmallow rates The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick 95%.

Marshmallow reviews The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher

This week Marshmallow reviews The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher.

Marshmallow reviews The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher.
Marshmallow reviews The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about mythology, and if you are open to being a little scared, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Seren Rhys is an orphan and so has been alone without a family for her entire life. Now that is about to change. She is now going to go live in Wales with her godfather, Captain Jones, and his wife, Lady Mair, and their son, Tomos, in their large house called Plas-y-Fran. While she waits at the train station, a tall, thin man comes and asks her if she can hold on to a package he is carrying, and that if “They” get him, she should not, no matter what, leave it there. When he doesn’t come back, she takes the package with her to Plas-y-Fran.

When Seren arrives at Plas-y-Fran, there are not many people, and the people there are not very welcoming. Seren senses that something is wrong but cannot tell what. On top of this, Captain Jones has gone somewhere to do something, Lady Mair is in London, and Tomos is nowhere to be seen. No one is talking about him, but it is clear that he is not with his parents.

Life in Plas-y-Fran is not turning out to be what Seren imagined. She is alone again: she doesn’t have anyone to play with, and her godfather and his wife aren’t there. And there is something wrong: whenever she tries to learn anything about Tomos, she is scolded or the topic is changed. As she investigates more, she thinks that “They”, magical creatures that steal children from people who took “Their” land, took Tomos. Whatever happened, it is clear that Tomos is gone, and no one is looking for him anymore (because they already looked and couldn’t find him).

Marshmallow is reading The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher.
Marshmallow is reading The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that this is a great book, but I must say that I think it is best for ages 9 or 10 and up. This is because, first of all, the plot might confuse younger bunnies, and second, this book is a bit creepy. I, myself, was kind of scared reading it. It would be especially scary for younger bunnies because the bad guys, the magical people or “faeries” who take children seem to do bad things to them, like taking their soul. This is one book I would NOT recommend reading at bedtime, or when it is dark, or any time close to night, as apparently that is when the bad guys (“faeries”) try to steal the children. In fact it might be a good idea for parents to read it first to see if they want their child to read it. 

The characters are very well developed, they are very realistic, and they are relatable. The author, Catherine Fisher, is very good at creating suspense at the climax of the book. I was not able to put the book down until I had finished it, thus the reason I read part of it at night, and I really do not recommend doing that.

The Clockwork Crow is part of a series, only the first book of a trilogy. However, I think that it also works well as a stand-alone book, as there isn’t really a cliffhanger at the end. Still I think I want to read the second book in the series just in case. But first of all, I look forward to rereading The Clockwork Crow

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher 100%.

Marshmallow reviews Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

The book bunny household has enjoyed almost every book they read of Kate DiCamillo. Today Marshmallow reviews one of her favorites: Flora and Ulysses.

Marshmallow reviews Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.
Marshmallow reviews Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you liked reading any other book by Kate DiCamillo, such as Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and  Mercy Watson, or if you like books about unexpected friendships, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): “Cynic” Flora Belle Buckman’s knowledge is put to the test when her neighbor runs over a squirrel with a vacuum. She knows a lot of things about tumors and other things that can go wrong in life. But one thing that she has yet to learn is how to perform CPR on a squirrel. Which is exactly what she does.

While the vacuum is about to suck up the squirrel, his only thought is, “FOOD!” Not, “I don’t want to die!” or “This is the end.” As the squirrel is waking up, he hears a voice, Flora’s, saying, “Breathe!” And so he does.

When he wakes up he is a different squirrel. And he is very, VERY hungry. So Flora sneaks him into her house. And she names him Ulysses after the vacuum that sucked him up (the Ulysses 2000X).

When Flora and her mother go to sleep, Ulysses goes and raids the pantry and then starts to type on Flora’s mother’s typewriter. He writes: 

“Squirtel! I am. Ulysses. Born anew.”          

Flora’s mother gets upset because she doesn’t know about Ulysses, and so she thinks that Flora typed it. When she eventually finds out about Ulysses, she tells Flora’s dad (they are divorced), to put Ulysses in a sack, then hit Ulysses on the head with a shovel (which will “put him out of his misery”), and then bury him with the shovel.

When Flora hears about this plan, she gets very upset. She is not only upset that her mother could be so cruel to a squirrel but also because she is upset about Mary Ann, her mother’s lamp. Flora’s mother says that she loves Mary Ann with all her heart even though she never says that about Flora. Flora is understandably upset, but she tries to ignore it by saying that she is a cynic and she doesn’t care, but she actually really does. 

Marshmallow is reading Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.
Marshmallow is reading Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.

Marshmallow’s Review: This book is both heartwarming and funny. Kate DiCamillo did a very good job of writing a funny book that can also make the reader happier.

Flora and Ulysses has a lot of interesting characters. For example, Ulysses the squirrel is a very interesting character and it is very funny how his only thought before he got sucked up by the vacuum and became smarter was, “FOOD!” Flora is also a very interesting character. She likes reading Incandesto, a comic book about a janitor who fell into a large pool of a cleaning liquid and became a superhero. And Flora really likes reading the comic strip that is at the end of every Incandesto book, called Terrible Things Can Happen to You! which is how she determines that she is a cynic. 

 Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo 100%.
Marshmallow rates Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo 100%.