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 Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Today Marshmallow reviews a book that her school teacher introduced her to: Wonder by R.J Palacio.

Marshmallow reviews Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
Marshmallow reviews Wonder by R.J. Palacio. 

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about school and friendship, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): August (Auggie) Pullman was born with health issues that caused him to look very different from a lot of other kids. He had been homeschooled because he would get sick and possibly die if he went to school with other children. But now that he is stronger, his parents are now trying to get him to go to Beecher Prep, a private school. At first he is reluctant but eventually decides to go.

The principal, Mr. Tushman, introduces him to three kids who take him on a tour of the school: Julian, Jack Will (Jack is his first name, and his last name is Will, but for some reason people sometimes call him Jack Will), and Charlotte. Charlotte and Jack are nice enough, but Julian asks questions like, “what happened to your face?” and “was your face burned in a fire?” But on the bright side, August likes Jack Will and wants to be friends with him. 

When August starts school, people try not to touch him or be next to him. At lunch, nobody wants to sit with him, not even Jack Will. But then a girl named Summer comes over and sits with him, and they become friends. Jack Will and August eventually become friends, too. Then on Halloween, August comes as a Bleeding Scream, not a Boba Fett (August is completely obsessed with Star Wars) as he said he would. He sits at a different desk and he overhears Julian and two mummies (he assumes they are Miles and Henry, two of Julian’s friends) saying mean things about him. But then he recognizes one of the mummies, and it is not Henry or Miles.

Marshmallow is reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
Marshmallow is reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Marshmallow’s Review: Wonder is a great book for bunnies of many different ages. I think that it is especially meant for bunnies of ages 8-13 but it can still be enjoyed thoroughly by bunnies younger and/or older than that. Even grownup bunnies would enjoy reading it! (I am still trying to convince Sprinkles and Caramel to read it.)

A very interesting thing about Wonder is that different people narrate its different parts. For example. the first section is narrated by August, the second by August’s sister, Via (short for Olivia who looks like other kids), the third by Summer, and the fourth by Jack Will. And then there are many more sections. It is fun to read a book written in first person from many people’s perspectives, especially since their writing style is different.

Wonder has also been made into a movie though I have not seen it yet. Here is the trailer for it if you are interested: 

The trailer for the movie Wonder.

Wonder is a great book also because the plot is well-written and well thought-out. The characters are well-developed and really realistic. R. J. Palacio has created:

“A crackling page-turner filled with characters you can’t help but root for.”

­­­­Entertainment Weekly

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Wonder by R.J. Palacio 100%.
Marshmallow rates Wonder by R.J. Palacio 100%.

Marshmallow reviews Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier

Today Marshmallow reviews Kristy’s Great Idea, the first book in Ann M. Martin’s classic series, The Baby-Sitters Club, reimagined and rewritten as a graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow reviews Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow reviews Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier.

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

Marshmallow’s Summary: When her mother is unable to find a babysitter for her younger brother, Kristy Thomas comes up with a great idea: The Baby-Sitters Club. She decides that she will start a babysitting business together with her best friends Mary Ann Spier and Claudia Kishi.

The girls decide to meet at Claudia’s house and they talk about what they will do. They decide that they will meet regularly in Claudia’s room because she has a phone that they can use for clients’ calls. Claudia tells Kristy and Mary Ann that she knows whom they should invite to be in the club. They should ask Stacey McGill to join them. Claudia tells them that Stacey just moved from New York and that she used to babysit there.  The rest of the girls meet Stacey in their next meeting and they decide that she can be in the club.

In the rest of the book the girls babysit multiple children and Kristy becomes closer to the children that might become her step-siblings. 

Marshmallow is reading Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow is reading Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a book about friendship. It is the first book of a very successful book series that was originally written in 1986 by Ann M. Martin, but was in 2006 made into a graphic novel, by Raina Telgemeier. 

Kristy’s Great Idea is a good book for people who enjoyed Raina Telgemeier’s other books (see my review of her book Ghosts here). The book is one hundred eighty pages, so younger readers might take a longer time reading it and might find it a little hard to read. I think that this book is probably best for ages seven and up. 

I think that my favorite character is Karen, one of the kids that might become Kristy’s stepsiblings. I think that she is funny because she thinks that her neighbor is a witch, and put a spell on their cat Boo Boo.

The characters are all well developed. They are also very different from each other. For example, Mary Anne is quiet and shy, while her best friend is a bit bossy and opinionated. Meanwhile, Claudia and Stacey are interested in fashion, but Claudia is a great artist (she is the one who draws the Baby-Sitters Club symbol), and Stacey is more into the styles that are popular. But they still are all great friends.

The book bunnies got into the Baby-Sitters Clubs series because of the new Netflix show The Baby-Sitters Club. Here is a trailer:

The Baby-Sitters Club trailer from YouTube.

There are a lot of differences between the Netflix show and the graphic novels. And I am guessing there are some differences between the original books and the graphic novels. But so far I have not yet read any of the originals. Maybe some day…

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier 95%.
Marshmallow rates Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier 95%.

Caramel reviews The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary is a prolific author and the book bunnies have read many of her books through the years. Last year, Marshmallow reviewed Beezus and Ramona, the first book by Cleary featuring one of her signature characters, Ramona Quimby. Today Caramel picks up the mantle and reviews The Mouse and the Motorcycle, written in 1965, the first book featuring Ralph S. Mouse. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.
Caramel reviews The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.

Sprinkles: So this week we are talking about a chapter book. This book has been sitting in your room for a while now. What made you decide to finally pick it up?

Caramel: Hmm, I don’t actually know. I just thought about reading it. I picked it up when I was sent to clean up my room.

S: Hmm, that worked out well, I suppose. So what do you want to tell us about it?

C: It has 186 pages, and then there are some extras. There is a note from Beverly Cleary. Then “Ralph answers some questions”, then “Ralph thanks the readers”, and then there is a section called “About the pictures in this book”.

S: Those sound interesting. But who is Ralph? I think we first need to clarify that.

C: Ralph is a mouse who lives in a knot hole in a hotel room, at the Mountain View Inn.

S: And that is supposedly in California, right?

C: I think so.

S: So what happens to Ralph? I’m guessing that he is the mouse in the title. Is that right?

C: Yes. He meets this boy named Keith. Keith has a toy sedan and a sports car, and an ambulance.

S: Does he also have a toy motorcycle?

C: Yes he does. And one day, Ralph tries to ride the motorcycle and falls in a waste bin.

S: That must be scary for him!

C: Yes it is.

S: Is that how he meets Keith?

C: Yes, and then they become friends. Apparently Ralph can talk, and Keith can understand him.

S: After all, this is fiction. We have seen talking animals before, right?

C: Yes, for example Babymouse talks!

S: And Verdi is a talking snake.

C: And we are talking animals!

S: That is true! We have discussed many other books where there are creatures that talk that are usually not expected to talk, at least to humans.

Caramel is reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.
Caramel is reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.

S: I liked reading this book, but if people want to watch instead, there is a movie of it apparently. Here it is:

YouTube link to The Mouse And The Motorcycle – (Full, 1986).

C: I like this book a lot too! And I’m looking forward to reading the next two books.

S: So there are two more books with Ralph in them?

C: Yes!

S: I think I have not read those. Maybe you will review them for our blog some time.

C: I will.

S: Okay Caramel, so it is time to wrap this up. Let us finish by rating it in three words. What three words would you use to describe the book?

C: Adventurous, imagination, funny.

S: I like those words! I think I could add: “sweet”, “unexpected”, and “friendship”.

C: I like those too.

S: Great! So let us wrap things up! What do you say?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary, and recommends it to all other young bunnies.
Caramel enjoyed reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary, and recommends it to all other young bunnies.