Marshmallow reviews The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu

Marshmallow recently got her paws on Anne Ursu’s recent book The Lost Girl, and finished it in two days. Below she shares some of her thoughts on the book.

Marshmallow reviews The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu.
Marshmallow reviews The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books that are about mystery and friendship, then this might be for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Let me start with the publisher’s synopsis: 

“When you are an identical twin, your story always starts with someone else. For Iris, that means her story starts with Lark. Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark is inventive, dreamy, and brilliant–and from their first moments in the world together, they’ve never left each other’s side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sisters already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together.”

This already tells you that the book is about twins Iris and Lark. We know that they complement each other. A big problem that they face in the book is that the adults in their lives think it might be better for them to be separate for a while. This is a big deal and shakes both girls up a lot. This is one of the two main threads in the book.

The second thread is about a mysterious store. Before fifth grade starts, a small odd shop named Treasure Hunters opens in their town. Right outside the shop is a sign that says:

WE ARE HERE.”

Iris and Lark go in the store, and inside they meet a man that Iris thinks looks like a mole. Iris asks him about the sign. The man asks if they believe in keeping their promise. They say that they do. The man acts as if that answered their question.

Then later, they learn about their class assignments. For the first time they are going to be in different classes: Iris has Mrs. Shonubi and Lark has Mr. Hunt. The girls think that Mr. Hunt is a mean teacher, “an ogre”, they think. (Actually they think he is a real ogre, the mythical one.)

The girls soon realize that the sign next to the new shop no longer says, “WE ARE HERE.” The sign now says,

ARE YOU?

The girls are startled and think that it is a peculiar way of advertising. As their school starts the sign changes again and this time says

ALICE, WHERE ARE YOU?

Iris enters the store to ask who Alice is. The man seems reluctant but eventually says that Alice was his sister. Iris asks what happened to her and the man says that she just disappeared. He looks very sad.

Alice is not the only person or thing that disappears however. The famous Spoonbridge and Cherry in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden also disappears. So does a beluga named Peanut and the sulu bleeding heart specimen. Some items in Iris and Lark’s home also go missing: Lark’s bracelet, a doll named Baby Thing, Lark’s beanbag cat named Esmerelda, and a figure of an ogre. Where do all these go? Find out in The Lost Girl.  

Marshmallow is pointing at a picture from the book, but do not look too carefully if you don't want any further spoilers!
Marshmallow is pointing at a picture from the book, but do not look too carefully if you don’t want any further spoilers!

Marshmallow’s review: This is a very interesting book that has an intriguing plot. It is a little creepy, so it is for ages eight and up. There is a very interesting twist toward the end and the bad guy turns out to be someone that is unexpected.

This is a book that is about friendship. It is a mix between creepy, mystery, and friendship. Iris unwillingly goes to a camp for girls and finds that friendship between girls can be empowering, despite her original cynicism.

The plot is intricate, and everything fits together, just like in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, though if you are not careful or if you read it too fast, in the end it might get a little bit confusing. But all in all it is well planned and it is evident that the author planned everything out and left clues for the reader.

Marshmallow’s rating: 95%

Marshmallow rates The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu 95%.

Marshmallow reviews In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton

Marshmallow has finally gotten into the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton, which used to be a favorite of Sprinkles when she was a young bunny. In the review below Marshmallow reviews the fifth book of the series: In the Fifth at Malory Towers. As a change, this time Sprinkles is involved, too. Let us see how this one goes.

Marshmallow reviews In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.
Marshmallow reviews In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.

Sprinkles: So Marshmallow I have been seeing you reading the Malory Towers books over and over in these last few days.

Marshmallow: Yeah, I have been reading them, that’s true.

S: Can you tell our readers what these books are all about?

M: They are about some British girls going to a school called Malory Towers. Malory Towers is a boarding school for girls only.

S: The school is for six year and there is one book for each year, right?

M: Yes. Each year, there are multiple problems that come up and we see the girls grow up as they go through all that. Though some of them don’t seem to get more mature. They don’t seem to get nicer.

S: Yes, there is a specific mean character, you mean?

M: Yes. She’s spiteful, cunning, and sly. She’s also conceited; she thinks she’s great.

S: You’re talking about Gwendoline, right?

M: Yes, Gwendoline Mary Lacey. And she lies to her parents, too, telling them that she is good at everything.

S: Ok, let us talk about the more pleasant characters. Tell us about some of them.

M: Darrell Rivers is the main character. And her best friend is Sally Hope.

S: They are both good kids, right?

M: Well. Darrell has some anger issues. At least in the earlier books.

S: Then she should read Caramel’s review of Train Your Angry Dragon, right?

M: That might not be good enough. She needs to read the book! Anyways, Sally also is not perfect. She gets jealous sometimes. But overall they are, as you say, good kids. Actually most of the characters have some serious flaws.

S: But isn’t that quite natural? No bunny is perfect.

M: Yes I suppose that’s true. And maybe that makes the book more realistic.

S: Ok, now it is probably time that we start talking about the fifth book. Why did you want to talk about this one more specifically?

M: This one is my favorite. It’s interesting to see how all the talents and strengths of the girls come together to create something, the Christmas show.

S: You and your classmates often do school plays, right?

M: Yes we do at least one play every other year.

S: That does take a lot of group effort and practice.

M. Right. But in this book there are also other problems that the girls have to face. Moira and Alicia get really mad at each other for instance and Alicia quits. Then Alicia’s cousin June gets mad at Moira and starts writing poison pen letters.

S: That’s an interesting phrase Marshmallow. What does poison pen letter mean?

M: I had not heard of it before reading this book but Wikipedia has a brief description.

S: That’s really mean, right? To send spiteful and anonymous letters to people to hurt them?

M: Yes, that’s really mean. In the end June is punished for it. But let us not spoil the book for the readers. Maybe this is a good place to stop?

S: Yes, I think we gave them some good teasers so they can follow up with the threads themselves. Thanks for the chat Marshmallow.

M: Yay! I get to say it this time: Stay tuned for more reviews from the Book Bunnies!

Marshmallow enjoyed reading In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.
Marshmallow enjoyed reading In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.

Marshmallow reviews Animal Friendship! Collection by National Geographic Kids

Marshmallow reviews Animal Friendship! Collection by National Geographic Kids, a collection of three books in one volume:

Book 1: Best Friends Forever! And More True Stories of Animal Friendships (by Amy Shields)

Book 2: The Whale Who Won Hearts! And More True Stories of Adventures with Animals (by Brian Skerry with Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld)

Book 3: Lucky Leopards! And More True Stories of Amazing Animal Rescues (by Aline Alexander Newman)

Marshmallow has been reading the Animal Friendship! Collection by National Geographic Kids on and off for a couple years now. Finally she is writing about it.

Marshmallow reviews Animal Friendship! Collection, Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them by National Geographic Kids.
Marshmallow reviews Animal Friendship! Collection: Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them by National Geographic Kids.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like nonfiction books about animals, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Overview: This book has three books in one volume:

Book 1: Best Friends Forever! And More True Stories of Animal Friendships (by Amy Shields)
Book 2: The Whale Who Won Hearts! And More True Stories of Adventures with Animals (by Brian Skerry with Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld)
Book 3: Lucky Leopards! And More True Stories of Amazing Animal Rescues (by Aline Alexander Newman)

In the first two books, there are four stories each, each made up of three chapters. The third book has three stories, each made up of three chapters. That means that there are, in total, eleven stories (all told in a total of 33 chapters) in the collection.

Each story is three chapters long. The stories are all about different animals: there are stories about leopards, apes, dogs, whales, cats, sharks, and so on. In the stories of the first book, there is a friendship between two species of animals that are each unique in different ways. Most stories in the second book are about human interactions with special animals, and the stories in the third book are about people rescuing hurt animals. The stories are all real, and the book contains many colorful photos of the events happening.

Marshmallow is pointing towards an adorable baby harp seal, the protagonist of only one of the many sweet stories in Animal Friendship! Collection, Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them by National Geographic Kids.
Marshmallow is pointing towards an adorable baby harp seal, the protagonist of only one of the many sweet stories in Animal Friendship! Collection: Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them by National Geographic Kids.

Marshmallow’s Review: The book cover says that this book is about “Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them”. This description is accurate as these are really heartwarming and amazing stories.  

This is a great read for people and rabbits who like nonfiction books about animals and people. It contains stories that have characters that are all loyal and kind to their friends or companions. 

My favorite book in the collection is Book 1: Best Friends Forever! I like this book because it has my favorite stories. The stories in this book are about animal friendships. The animals are very loyal to their companions who are from a different species, which makes it even more impressive that they are friends. The very first story is about Roscoe the dog and Suryia the orangutan. The second one is about a gorilla named Koko who loves cats. The third story is about a greyhound named Jasmine and the many different animals she becomes friends with. The last story of Book 1 is about Owen the hippo and his friend Mzee the tortoise.

The fact that this book is nonfiction is almost unbelievable since the stories are so unlikely but very cute and adorable. In my opinion this is a very good and well written book.

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%

Marshmallow rates Animal Friendship! Collection, Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them by National Geographic Kids 100%.
Marshmallow rates Animal Friendship! Collection: Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them by National Geographic Kids 100%.

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%.