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.

Marshmallow reviews The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Marshmallow reviewed Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo before. Today she shares with us her thoughts on another book by DiCamillo: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. (The book bunnies were looking forward to seeing the theatre adaptation of Edward Tulane before the pandemic started. Maybe some other time…)

Marshmallow reviews The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.
Marshmallow reviews The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.

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

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Edward Tulane is Abilene’s china rabbit and he thinks that he is very civilized. He has multiple suits that have holes for his tail, hats that have holes for his ears, and he even has a pocket watch that can be wound which Abilene, the little girl who owns him, does for him every day. When she goes to school, she wounds his pocket watch and tells him when she will come back.

When Abilene tells Edward that she loves him, he doesn’t give it a second thought, and instead thinks about the stars. He is very full of himself, and Abilene’s grandmother Pellegrina notices. One night, she tells Abilene a story about a beautiful princess who did not love anyone. At the end of the story, the princess is turned into a warthog and then eaten. When Pellegrina finishes her story, she comes over to Edward and says, “You disappoint me.”

Soon the Tulane family boards a ship that will take them to England, but Pellegrina stays behind. On the ship, two mean boys grab Edward from Abilene and toss him around. Abilene pushes on one of the boys and he misses the other, and so with that “Edward Tulane fell overboard.”

Marshmallow is reading the part of Kate DiCamillo's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane where Edward finally has "the proper outlaw look"--now he finally looks "like a rabbit on the run".
Marshmallow is reading the part of Kate DiCamillo’s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane where Edward finally has “the proper outlaw look”–now he finally looks “like a rabbit on the run”.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is my favorite among Kate DiCamillo’s books that I have read so far. It is not part of a series so you can read it by itself.

In The Miraculous Journey, many years and months pass, and DiCamillo is able to make the reader believe that time actually passes.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane can be read by all ages of bunnies. Caramel and Sprinkles also really liked (listening to) it, but is probably best for young bunnies.

It is really neat to see how Edward’s character changes over the course of his journey. There are also many interesting characters. One of these is Pellegrina, Abilene’s grandmother, who Edward suspects had something to do with his journey. While Edward is in the ocean, he thinks about Pellegrina’s story and realizes that she is like the witch, in the sense that she is punishing him for not loving Abilene back while she loves him so much.

I think the best part is the end of the book, but I can’t tell you the end because it would spoil the book. So if you want to know the end you will need to read the book yourself.

Here is a trailer for the book I really enjoyed watching:

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo 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%.

Marshmallow reviews The Unteachables by Gordon Korman

Marshmallow enjoys reading books about school and friendship. She has already reviewed Blubber by Judy Blume, In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton, and Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins for the book bunnies blog. This week she reviews Gordon Korman’s The Unteachables., published first in 2019.

Marshmallow reviews The Untechables by Gordon Korman.
Marshmallow reviews The Untechables by Gordon Korman.

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): Kiana Roubini is living with her father and stepmother Louise while her mother is producing a movie. The book starts with Louise driving Kiana to her new school to register her for the year. But then, Kiana’s baby brother starts crying and her stepmom, who she rudely calls “Stepmonster” (in her mind), has to go back to their house, telling Kiana that they will be back soon.

Kiana waits for a long time and Louise does not come back. So Kiana decides that she will register herself. The school registration office is very busy and Kiana ends up with someone else’s class schedule. The room number the person is assigned to is 117.

When Kiana asks another student for directions, he seems friendly at first, but the second that he hears that she is in room 117, he quickly leaves. When she finds her way to “her” class, she finds that her fellow pupils are roasting marshmallows on pencils and eating them. (eek! why would anyone want to eat me! oh, okay, let’s continue.) Then she meets her teacher: Mr. Kermit is sitting at his desk solving crossword puzzles from the newspaper while his students wreak havoc upon the classroom. 

The students in room 117 are not there to learn. All that they do is worksheets that their teacher doesn’t even grade. They were all separated from the rest of the children from the district because they are supposed to be unintelligent and unable to learn and so they just sit in the room and mess around. They are supposed to be misfits and delinquents. But soon, Kiana learns that they are actually pretty nice. She also learns more about Mr. Kermit and what made him seem so cold and distant.

You need to read the book to learn more!

Marshmallow is reading The Unteachables by Gordon Korman.
Marshmallow is reading The Unteachables by Gordon Korman.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a very interesting book. It is very sad how all of the kids were removed from the “normal” classes and put in room 117. It is sad because they are actually the same as the rest of the kids. They all want to make friends, they want to learn, and they need adults to trust that they can actually learn.

My favorite thing in the book is the “Toilet Bowl”. That is Mr. Kermit’s coffee cup. It is huge! In one of the chapters narrated by Mr. Kermit, he says:

“I need coffee. I cheer myself up by picturing the Toilet Bowl on the shelf in the faculty lounge, dwarfing all the lesser mugs.”

Each chapter is narrated by a different character, and I think that it is very interesting that the author chose to do that. It is also very interesting that we hear the views of a lot of people, not only the views of the main characters, but also the views of the enemies of Mr. Kermit and class 117. 

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.     

Marshmallow rates The Untechables by Gordon Korman 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Untechables by Gordon Korman 100%.