Marshmallow reviews Blubber by Judy Blume

Marshmallow reviews Blubber (1974) by Judy Blume, about school, bullying, and friendship.

Marshmallow likes reading books about school-age kids, even if there are no dragons or wizards, though she quite likes it when those kinds of things do appear. Below she reviews a classic, Blubber by Judy Blume, first published in 1974.

Marhsmallow reviews Blubber by Judy Blume.
Marhsmallow reviews Blubber by Judy Blume.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about things that happen at school, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Fifth grader Jill Brenner is a part of a group of girls that bully a girl named Linda. Linda is bigger than the other kids in the class and so is bullied and mistreated. Since she gave a report on the whale and talked about a whale’s blubber, the bullies call her Blubber. Jill’s group, along with the rest of the class, tease, bully, and mistreat Linda.

The gang of bullies is made up of girls named Wendy, Caroline, and Jill. In this group they all have roles. Wendy is the leader, while Caroline is the muscle that holds the victims’ hands together while Jill does whatever Wendy says. Wendy is very manipulative. All the teachers like her and so if one of her victims tells on her, she just comes up with a lie, and then the teachers believe her, and so she does not get in to trouble. In this terrible way Wendy not only makes herself seem innocent but also makes the victim look like a liar.

On Halloween, Jill and her friend, Tracy Wu, try to get revenge on a man named Mr. Machinist (apparently he is a mean person) by putting rotten eggs in his mailbox. They put the rotten eggs in his mailbox. Then they meet Wendy and Caroline, who don’t believe that they put the eggs in his mailbox. When they show the eggs to Wendy and Caroline, Mr. Machinist catches them. They manage to get away, but Mr. Machinist takes a picture of Jill and Tracy before they can get away.

Marshmallow is pointing toward the letter Mr. Machinist sent to Jill's parents.
Marshmallow is pointing toward the letter Mr. Machinist sent to Jill’s parents.

Later Mr. Machinist sends a letter to Jill’s and Tracy’s families telling them that they put rotten eggs in his mailbox and that they need to pay. Mr. Machinist assigns them the job of raking up leaves in his backyard.

At school the girls decide that someone must have told Mr. Machinist the names of the girls in the picture. They think that it must have been Linda. Jill convinces her friends that they should hold a trial to determine if Linda is innocent or not. The trial brings an unexpected twist which changes the course of the story. 

Marshmallow’s Review: This book is written in the first person, from the perspective of Jill Brenner, who is part of the gang that bullies Linda, or as the group of bullies call her, Blubber. This fact (that the book is written in the first person) is not the only difference from most of the other books that I have reviewed though. (Ella Enchanted was also in first person.) The narrator, Jill, is just not a nice person. It is strange reading the story from her perspective. She does call Linda Blubber, which is not nice at all.

This book is about events that can occur in real life, and life doesn’t always end like “and they lived happily ever after“. This book does not end happily, but the main message (“treat others how you want to be treated“) does come through very clearly. It will make a good read for readers who appreciate books that don’t end “happily ever after” but instead leave you with things to think about.

There are some curse words in the book, which is one of the reasons why it might not be appropriate for all young readers.

Marshmallow’s rating: 90%

Marshmallow rates Blubber by Judy Blume 90%.
Marshmallow rates Blubber by Judy Blume 90%.

Caramel reviews Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld

Both Caramel and Marshmallow love rereading their favorites over and over again. Caramel is rereading a long-time favorite these days: Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld. Below he shares some thoughts on this book. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions as needed.

Caramel reviews Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld.
Caramel reviews Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld.

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

Caramel: This is a friendship story. There is Stone, and there is Stick. Stone is a stone and Stick is a stick, of course.

S: Of course!

C: First they are alone and alone is not fun.

S: Then what happens?

C: Then they become friends. And then Stick helps Stone. Let me read to you. This is one of my two favorite parts:

Stone whispers: “Gee, you stuck up for me!”

“That’s just what sticks do. Friends do it too.”

S: That’s sweet! So the book is written like a poem; sentences seem to rhyme, right?

C: Yes. good point! “Gee” and “me” rhyme! And “do” and “too” rhyme too!

S: That makes the book more fun to read out loud I think. What do you think?

C: Yes, the next page says for example: “Stick, Stone. No longer alone.” “Stone” and “alone” rhyme too!

S: You said the above quote was one of your two favorites. What is your second favorite passage from the book?

C: Do you want me to read that too?

S: Yes, please do!

C: Ok, let me find it first. Here you go:

“You rock, Stone,” says Stick.

“That’s just what stones do. Best friendship rocks too.”

S: Yes, that is sweet, too! This is when Stone helps Stick in a tough situation, right?

C: Yes, that’s right. But I have a third section I want to read now.

“COWABUNGA!! KER-SPLOOSH!”

Caramel is pointing to the pages where Stone is rescuing Stick. "COWABUNGA!! KER-SPLOOSH!"
Caramel is pointing to the pages where Stone is rescuing Stick. “COWABUNGA!! KER-SPLOOSH!”

S: What do these mean Caramel?

C: These are sounds. The first is a bouncing sound and the second is a splash!

S: Hmm, I think I get it…

C: This is the best book ever! If I were Marshmallow, I would give it a 91%.

S: Well, Marshmallow never rates things 91% though.

C: Actually I think this is a 99%.

S: Really? Why not 100%?

C: Ok, how about 101%? Just kidding. It is a good book and I like it. I don’t care about the numbers. But if you want numbers, it should be twenty four thousand!

S: 24,000% is a big big number Caramel.

C: How about ninety nine trillion?

S: You must really like this book! Why do you like it so much?

C: I like stories about friendship. Remember I reviewed Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon before?

S: Yes, and you also reviewed The Missing Piece Meets The Big O by Shel Silverstein, which was also about friendship. And these are all sweet stories about being true friends.

C: Yes. Can we read it together one more time?

S: Sure Caramel. And we can also wrap up this review. Do you want to say the last word?

C: Yes! COWABUNGA!! KER-SPLOOSH!! Ok, now I’m done. Let’s read.

Caramel has been enjoying reading and rereading Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld.
Caramel has been enjoying reading and rereading Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld.

Caramel reviews Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon

Caramel is already reading some chapter books, but he still loves picture books (even though last week he just reviewed a book that has no pictures!) This week he reviews one of his favorites: Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions as usual.

Caramel reviews Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon.
Caramel reviews Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon.

Sprinkles: Caramel, what do you want to tell us about this book?

Caramel: It’s a friendship story and I really like it.

S: What is it about exactly?

C: There is a penguin who finds a pinecone, and asks his grandpa what is wrong with him. His grandpa says it’s too cold for the pinecone.

“It’s too cold here,” said Grandpa. “Pinecone belongs in the forest far, far away. He can’t grow big and strong on the ice.”

So then Penguin takes the pinecone to the forest. He sets off on a journey.

S: That sounds sophisticated Caramel! And very funny. You like to use such phrases! Ok, then what happens?

C: He leaves the pinecone in a special place in the forest, on a bed he makes.

Penguin made a cozy nest out of the softest pine needles he could find.

S: So where is the friendship?

C: At the beginning of the story where Penguin finds Pinecone, they become friends. They play together, so much!

S: He even knits a scarf for the pinecone, doesn’t he?

C: Yes. I’m going to look at that page again. Hmm, that’s cool! Penguin knits an orange scarf for Pinecone. He has an orange scarf himself.

S: So now both friends have matching scarves, that’s cool! Do you ever wear matching things with friends?

C: Let me think. Sometimes I wear matching things with Marshmallow!

S: That’s right! Ok, let’s get back to the book. So Penguin takes Pinecone to the forest but then the forest is too hot for him. So he has to go back home, right?

C: Yeah. But then he misses Pinecone. And then he goes back to find him.

S: Does he find him?

C: Yup, but I won’t tell you the big awesome surprise! At least a surprise for Penguin!

S: Yes, that part is really neat. I wonder if our readers can guess what happens in the end… But we can probably give away the main moral of the story, right? It’s all the way at the end…

C: Yes!

S: So what is the moral Caramel?

C: Ok, I will read it:

When you give love … it grows.

S: That is a sweet idea, isn’t it?

C: It is a sweet story! Actually it’s an awesome story!

S: I know. You have read it several times already, no?

C: I have no idea how many times I have read it really.

S: So you recommend this book?

C: If I were Marshmallow I’d give it 100%!

Caramel loves reading and rereading Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon.
Caramel loves reading and rereading Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship Story by Salina Yoon.

Caramel reviews The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein

The book bunnies household has been reading books by Shel Silverstein recently. After Marshmallow’s review of A Light in the Attic, now we present to you Caramel’s review of The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, by Shel Silverstein. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions as needed.

Caramel reviews The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein. May The Force Be With You!
Caramel reviews The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein.

Sprinkles: Caramel, tell us about this book.

Caramel: This is a story about independence. I think. There is a main character called The Missing Piece. It looks like a slice of pie… With no crust!

S: Yum!

C: It’s not actually a slice of pie so don’t eat the book!

S: Ok, I won’t. So what does this Missing Piece want?

C: To roll with someone. To be a part of someone. It thinks it is the missing piece from a whole and together with the rest it will make a whole.

S: Hmm, like the slice of pie looking for the rest of the pie, right?

C: Yeah, that’s a good way to think about it Sprinkles.

S: So does it find someone to roll with?

C: Yes. But only for a little while. Then it grows and doesn’t fit anymore. So the other piece leaves it behind.

S: That sounds sad. It sounds like when you grow and change, some of your friends may not be able to follow you.

C: I guess that’s kind of like the story. The Missing Piece grows but the other part doesn’t. And it gets surprised when the Missing Piece starts growing.

S: Then what happens?

C: The Missing Piece meets the Big O.

S: So who is the Big O?

C: A circle. A full circle. It has no missing pie slices taken out of it.

S: So it is a whole on its own and doesn’t need any missing pieces to complete it?

C: Right. But it says to the Missing Piece that they can roll together if it wants.

S: But the Missing Piece doesn’t know how to roll on its own, does it?

C: No, not yet. But soon it will. Because soon it starts to wear out its corners and finally can be a rolling piece itself.

S: So it gets its rough edges smoothed out and it becomes an O itself, too, right?

C: It’s a baby O! Not a Big O, but still an O and so it can roll! That sounds like us rabbits. Rabbits have baby bunny rabbits, and they can run around like the big bunny rabbits. But they have to learn. Like us.

S: So do you think this is about growing up and being independent?

C: Yes I think so.

S: Yes, I agree. I think this book is about growing up and growing apart from some of our old friends. This can be sad sometimes but then there are other friends who appreciate us growing and changing, and who continue our life journeys with us. So overall this book gives us a lot of things to think about. And it has lots of pictures. Do you like it?

C: I think it is awesome! I really like it! Can I read it to you a bit?

S: Yes, let us wrap up this review then. Till next week…

C: Stay tuned for more reading adventures with the book bunnies!

Caramel loved The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein!
Caramel loved The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein!