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%.

Marshmallow reviews Ivy and Bean: One Big Happy Family by Annie Barrows (Book 11 of the Ivy + Bean Series)

Marshmallow loved all ten of the Ivy + Bean books written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophia Blackhall when she first read them. She even reviewed one of her favorites for the Book Bunnies blog: you can check out her review of Book 9: Ivy and Bean Make the Rules. So when she heard last year that there would be an eleventh book, she just could not wait to get her paws on a copy. Today she reviews this eleventh book in the series: One Big Happy Family.

Marshmallow reviews Ivy and Bean: One Big Happy Family by Annie Barrows and Sophia Blackhall (Book 11 of the Ivy + Bean Series).
Marshmallow reviews Ivy and Bean: One Big Happy Family by Annie Barrows and Sophia Blackhall (Book 11 of the Ivy + Bean Series).

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you enjoyed Annie Barrow and Sophia Blackhall’s Ivy and Bean series, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Ivy is worried that she is becoming spoiled. Her classmate Vanessa says that only children are usually spoiled and she implies that Ivy is spoiled. Ivy starts to believe that she is spoiled so she and her best friend, Bean, search for a way for her to become unspoiled.

Ivy first tries giving away a lot of clothes at school, but then she gets in trouble and has to take them back. Then Ivy and Bean try to find a different way to “unspoil” Ivy. They realize that if it is only children that are supposed to be spoiled, then if Ivy is no longer an only child then she won’t be spoiled. Therefore, they ask Ivy’s mom to have a child, and when she says no, they try to find a different way to get a sibling for Ivy. For example they try asking the gods for help and bringing one of Ivy’s dolls to life. None of these ways works. They even tie their hands together thinking that their skin will grow together and make them conjoined twins. But then they will have to decide whose house to stay at. Ivy wants to rotate, but Bean wants to stay at her house. After some time being “conjoined twins” they decide that it is a bad idea.

Ivy continues to look for a way to be “unspoiled”. Read the book to find out!

Marshmallow is pointing to the page in Ivy and Bean: One Big Happy Family by Annie Barrows and Sophia Blackhall (Book 11 of the Ivy + Bean Series) where Bean is interrupting her sister Nancy's yoga session.
Marshmallow is pointing to the page in Ivy and Bean: One Big Happy Family by Annie Barrows and Sophia Blackhall (Book 11 of the Ivy + Bean Series) where Bean is interrupting her sister Nancy’s yoga session.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a really funny book, a great followup to all the other Ivy + Bean books that have entertained many young readers.

These books all have many characters that are relatable and funny. Ivy and Bean are funny to read about because they always have funny ideas, like when they think that they can become conjoined twins by tying their arms together, their whole theory being that when their skin grew it would grow together and they would be joined forever. Another weird idea of theirs is that by eating “brainfood” (strange combinations of foods), they will think unusual thoughts, helping them brainstorm ideas of how to “unspoil” Ivy.

This is a very good book for children of ages 5 and up. It is funny and the problems the kids are worried about are very funny and young bunnies can even see themselves in similar situations.

This is one of the few books in a series that I have reviewed that you could read without reading the earlier books. Still I think reading all the Ivy and Bean books would be good because they are all really fun!

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Ivy and Bean: One Big Happy Family by Annie Barrows and Sophia Blackhall (Book 11 of the Ivy + Bean Series) 100%.

Marshmallow reviews To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Marshmallow reviews To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.

Marshmallow has begun to read To Night Owl From Dogfish a few weeks ago and finally today she is ready to share her thoughts about it with the readers of the Book Bunnies blog. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Marshmallow reviews To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.
Marshmallow reviews To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.

Sprinkles: Can you tell us a bit about this book Marshmallow?

Marshmallow: Sure, let me give you a brief summary first.

One day, Avery Allenberry Bloom gets an email from a girl named Bett Garcia Devlin. The email says that she has a gay dad just like Avery and that their fathers are now in love.

Avery does not believe Bett at first and thinks that she is lying. Then Bett says that they are both supposed to be going to a sleepover camp called CIGI. And while they are at the camp, the fathers will be in China. Avery knows that she is going to that camp, and so she starts to believe Bett.

The girls are both alarmed because they do not want to one day be sisters. But at camp they meet face to face for the first time and they start to become friends and they actually start wanting their parents to get married. But then the two fathers break up and things get messy.

S: This sounds a lot like The Parent Trap, an old movie by Hayley Mills. You probably have not seen that movie, but in that movie too, there are two girls who want to get their parents together. Actually it turns out that the two girls are actually twins and the parents are both their parents. Bett and Avery aren’t twins though, of course, right?

M: No they’re not.

Marshmallow is reading To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.
Marshmallow is reading To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.

S: So what else happens in the book? Are the girls at the camp for the rest of the book?

M: No. Actually they get kicked out of the camp, and they go stay with Avery’s biological mom. Then Avery’s father gets mad at the mother and then decides to come back from China early.

S: Is that when the two fathers break up?

M: Yes. And the rest of the book is more or less all about the girls trying to set things right.

S: That sounds interesting.

M: They do go to a lot of other places in the book.

S: The whole book seems like it is a collection of letters and emails, right? There seem to be no standard narrative segments.

M: Yes, that’s true. It is an interesting feature of the book. The whole story is written as a series of letters, emails, and text messages.

S: That sounds strange. How did it work for you?

M: It was very interesting to read a book written like this.

S: Did it ever get confusing? Were you always aware of who was writing?

M: Yes because on the top corner of each letter, there was the sender and recipient information, and the subject line, like in an email.

S: That is neat! So who is the Night Owl and who is Dogfish?

M: Night Owl is Avery and Dogfish is Bett.

S: Why?

M: In one text, Bett asks Avery what animal she would be if she were an animal. Avery says she’d be a night owl because she reads a lot at night. And Bett responds that she would be Dogfish, because she loves swimming and she loves her dog.

S: So would you recommend this book to other bunnies?

M: Yes, this is a very good read. This would be a good book for people who like reading about friendship. An interesting thread in the book is about how the two girls don’t want their fathers to be a couple at first but eventually they start enjoying each other’s company and their opinions change.

S: This looks to me like a good place to wrap up this review. Is there anything you want to say to finish things off Marshmallow?

M: Yes! Happy reading! And stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Marshmallow rates To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer 95%.
Marshmallow rates To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer 95%.

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%.