Marshmallow reviews Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Last week Marshmallow reviewed Smile by Raina Telgemeier. This week she continues her Telgemeier streak with the next graphic novel by this prolific author: Sisters. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Marshmallow reviews Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow reviews Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.

Sprinkles: So Marshmallow you have been reading graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier for a while now. And finally you got to Sisters.

Marshmallow: Yes.

S: The cover says this book accompanies Smile. I seem to remember that you wrote that that book was quite self-contained. How is this related to it?

M: They are related by the fact that both are about the same characters. The main character is the author herself, once again. But the main story line of this book is different. And it is a different time in her life. Instead of the school year, this is about summer time, about a summer when the author and her family took a road trip from California to Colorado to visit relatives.

S: I see. What is the main challenge this time?

M: The author and her sister are arguing too much. They are not in good terms. And there is a snake in their truck. And there are some problems between their parents.

S: I see. Seeing how the title mentions the sisters, I am assuming the book is mainly focusing on them getting their relationship in order?

M: Yes mostly.

S: So did you enjoy reading this book?

M: Yes. I always like Telgemeier’s drawings. She has a unique style. The faces of the characters are always very expressive. I like the color palate too. There is someone else who adds the coloring I think, Braden Lamb. I think the color choices add to the specific moods in each panel.

Marshmallow is reading Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow is reading Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.

S: Did you find this book helped you think about your relationship with Caramel a bit?

M: No, not really. Caramel is my brother, and we don’t fight that much.

S: Really? So these two sister fight more than you two? Hmm, that is some serious discord in the family then. Okay, so what else do you want to tell our readers about this book?

M: If you do have a sibling, this book might be helpful to you to think about your relationship with them, and see if you can be a better sibling yourself. So actually, maybe the book did make me think a bit about Caramel and me. I am thinking of how I can be a better big sister to him.

S: That is nice Marshmallow. I think you are a good big sister. And Caramel is a good young brother. So is the author the older sister or the younger?

M: She is the older one, like me.

S: I see.

M: But she is not totally like me. She is detached from her family at the beginning of the road trip. But through the book she starts feeling closer to them.

S: That is nice.

M: Yeah, I thought the book was pretty good. On thing I was not too keen on was that one of the story threads about the parents and their problems was not completely resolved. I wanted some more closure.

S: Well, you said this is a book about the author’s own life. Sometimes in real life, we don’t get closure, especially on big issues.

M: Yeah, I guess I wanted that part to be more like a book than real life.

S: I can see that. So the book was at times too much like real life! Anyways, it seems like this was all around a very good book. How would you rate it Marshmallow?

M: I’d rate it 95%.

S: Cool. And what do you want to tell our readers as we wrap up this review?

M: Stay tuned for more amazing book reviews from the book bunnies!

Marshmallow rates Sisters by Raina Telgemeier 95%.
Marshmallow rates Sisters by Raina Telgemeier 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Marshmallow has reviewed three books by Raina Telgemeier before: Ghost (2006), the graphic novel version of Ann N. Martin’s Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) (2006), and Drama (2012). For her first review after her summer break she chose to write about a fourth Telgemeier book: Smile (2010).

Marshmallow reviews Smile by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow reviews Smile by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about friends, friendship, and school, or if you enjoyed any of Raina Telgemeier’s other graphic novels, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): When Raina Telgemeier fell after her Girl Scouts meeting, her front teeth fell too. Unfortunately, they were her adult teeth and they weren’t going to grow back. This leads to a long process that continues for years. Her teeth must be fixed through braces, headgear (only during the night), and more. Raina is extremely self conscious of her image at school, and fears that her braces will make her look like a “dork” or a “nerd”; her friend group doesn’t help at all. In fact, several of her friends tell her that, “cool just isn’t the word to describe you.” In addition to all this, Raina has, what the book cover calls, “boy confusion”. ’nuff said.

Raina feels overwhelmed by middle school, and eventually high school. She is frustrated by the teeth issue, and struggling to find out what real, true friendship really is. I can’t spoil too much, but I can say that by the end, Raina can finally smile. 

Marshmallow is reading Smile by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow is reading Smile by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Review: I thought that this was a very interesting insight into the author’s childhood, and her experiences with middle and high school. This book is about the author, Raina Telgemeier, herself, and spans several years of her teenage experience. 

Though I couldn’t associate myself with all of the feelings the main character had, I can still sympathize with her problems, because the character is shown in such a real way. She is almost like a real person. (Oh, wait, she is.)

This is a graphic novel, and one of a series. However, despite the fact that there are two other books, this can definitely be read as a stand-alone book. But it doesn’t take too long to read, so you can probably read the books all at once and it makes a nice story all together. (I might even review the other books for the blog some day.) However, as I said, this could be a stand-alone, because the story ends at a satisfactory point. (Furthermore, the story arcs of the other two books are all different and the plots are all unconnected. I would of course say more if I do end up reviewing them, too.)

All in all, Smile is a good book that can be enjoyed by all. But I would say that probably a middle school / middle grades reader would find it more exciting than younger or older bunnies.  

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Smile by Raina Telgemeier 95%.
Marshmallow rates Smile by Raina Telgemeier 95%.

Caramel reviews The Aquanaut by Dan Santat

Caramel loves graphic novels and he loves all books by Dan Santat. So when he heard about The Aquanaut, the new (2022) graphic novel by Dan Santat, he knew he had to read and review it as soon as possible for the book bunnies blog. This is that review. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews The Aquanaut by Dan Santat.
Caramel reviews The Aquanaut by Dan Santat.

Sprinkles: Please tell us about this book Caramel.

Caramel: The book starts with a ship sinking, and someone’s brother dies. And then four sea animals convert the man’s diving suit into a walking suit so they can move on land. They go on land with this suit to find Aqualand, the dead man’s marine reserve.

S: That is an interesting premise for a story. What are the four animals?

C: There is a dumbo octopus, who is the engineer, a hermit crab, a blanket octopus, and a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.

S: I had never heard of these animals before, except hermit crabs, who I know take over shells abandoned by other animals. So in some sense taking over a diving suit is perfectly appropriate for a hermit crab. But I had never heard of a blanket octopus.

C: Apparently the males are as big as a walnut but the females can get as large as six feet!

S: That is very interesting!

C: But I had heard of the dumbo octopus before, too.

S: That is neat. You do know a lot about ocean animals! You have read all the Narwhal and Jelly books, and reviewed The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson for the blog too.

C: Yes. But I learned from this book that Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are the rarest and most endangered sea turtles in the world. And the others think the ocean is getting a little too dangerous so they think Aqualand should be safer.

S: How do they learn about Aqualand?

C: They find the notebook of the man who died. His name is Michael and he wrote about Aqualand in his notebook.

Caramel is reading The Aquanaut by Dan Santat.
Caramel is reading The Aquanaut by Dan Santat.

S: So Aqualand is a marine life reserve, right?

C: Michael and his brother Paul founded it to be a reserve, and Michael’s daughter Sophia still thinks it is one, but when the aquanaut crew, that is the four animals using the diving suit, come to Aqualand, they find out that it is now just an amusement park. And the animals there are not happy. So they set free an orca and …

S: Hmm, that reminded me a lot of the FunJungle books Marshmallow reviewed. In particular, Belly Up.

C: I can see that! Belly Up was also in an amusement park, but it was supposed to be a zoo where the animals would live their lives as naturally as possible.

S: So in The Aquanaut, the animals that steer the diving suit meet Michael’s daughter Sophia, right?

C: Yes. And both Sophia and Paul help the four animals escape and get back to the ocean.

S: That sounds like a sweet story Caramel.

C: Yes definitely. Can we put here the video that Dan Santat recorded for the book?

S: Yes, sure. Here it is.

The Aquanaut by Dan Santat – YouTube video by Scholastic, the publisher.

S: So what would your three words be to describe this book?

C: Colorful, exciting, and sweet. You said that word and I think it works for the book, too.

S: Sounds good to me. So do you think Marshmallow would like this book?

C: Yes, I think so. She loved the FunJungle books and she likes graphic novels too. I think actually that any bunny who likes the ocean and who likes the environment would like this book.

S: That is a solid endorsement Caramel. So what do you want to tell our readers as we wrap up this review?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel loved reading The Aquanaut by Dan Santat and recommends it to any bunny who loves graphic novels, the ocean, and other living creatures.
Caramel loved reading The Aquanaut by Dan Santat and recommends it to any bunny who loves graphic novels, the ocean, and other living creatures.

Caramel reviews The Battle of the Labyrinth: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan

All three of the book bunnies enjoy reading the many books of Rick Riordan based on various mythologies. Caramel has already reviewed for the book bunnies blog the graphic novel versions of the first three books of Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Today he talks about the fourth book, the graphic novel version of The Battle of the Labyrinth. As usual Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.

(Before continuing, you might want to check out Caramel’s reviews of The Lightning ThiefThe Sea of Monsters, and The Titan’s Curse.)

Caramel reviews The Battle of the Labyrinth: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Orpheus Collar, Antoine Dodé, and Chris Dickey.
Caramel reviews The Battle of the Labyrinth: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Orpheus Collar, Antoine Dodé, and Chris Dickey.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, I know you had misplaced your copy of The Battle of the Labyrinth and only recently got your paws on it again. How did it feel rereading it after so many weeks? Or months?

Caramel: It felt good! I missed my book!

S: So it is worth the rereading, I can see that. Can you tell us what it is about?

C: It’s about Percy Jackson. We met him before in all the other books of the series.

S: Yes, you reviewed the first three books already.

C: And Marshmallow did too. She read the original books. And I reviewed the graphic novels.

S: Actually you read the original books, too, right?

C: Yes. I did. But I like the graphic novels a lot more. I like looking at the pictures, and they arw so much more full of action!

S: I can see that. And yes, the graphic novel format brings the people alive somehow. Right?

C: Yes.

S: Okay, let’s assume we all read the first three books and know Percy is a demigod, that is, a son of the Greek god Poseidon, and he is on a quest to save the world from Kronos, one of the titans, who is trying to take over and overthrow the Olympian gods. Can you tell us what is happening in this book?

C: Percy and his friend Annabeth find the labyrinth. You know the labyrinth, right?

S: What should I know about it?

C: It is Daedalus‘s lab more or less, but it is a living thing, it keeps changing, and popping up new branches, and moving around underground. And Daedalus is a son of Athena, and he is a genius, and his labyrinth is a work of genius.

S: Okay, so why do Percy and Annabeth want to find it?

C: They don’t. They just accidentally fall into it. And then they realize how important it is. And there is a battle. Of the labyrinth. As you could imagine, given the title of th book.

Caramel is reading The Battle of the Labyrinth: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Orpheus Collar, Antoine Dodé, and Chris Dickey.
Caramel is reading The Battle of the Labyrinth: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Orpheus Collar, Antoine Dodé, and Chris Dickey.

S: So on one side of this battle are Percy and his friends, I can imagine.

C: And the gods, of course.

S: Okay, and on the other side?

C: The titans, and of course, Kronos who is leading them.

S: Hmm, and since this is the fourth book in a series of five, I am assuming that there is still a lot left for our heroes to do by the end?

C: Yup, but this one does end with some sort of a conclusion to a part of the story. So you leave the book satisfied but wanting also to read the next one. Of course.

S: Of course. I found it really interesting that the labyrinth shows up in many of the other books. It shows up in the Trials of Apollo series, for example.

C: Oh, but you are not supposed to give things away!

S: Oops! Okay, you are right. Then maybe I should stop talking. Why don’t you tell us your three words for the book?

C: Exciting, thrilling, and suspenseful.

S: Hmm, those are all pretty cool words Caramel! And I agree, they fit this book well. Okay, let us wrap up our review then. What do you want to tell our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunnies reviews!

Caramel loved reading The Battle of the Labyrinth: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Orpheus Collar, Antoine Dodé, and Chris Dickey, and he is looking forward to the fifth and last book in the series.
Caramel loved reading The Battle of the Labyrinth: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Orpheus Collar, Antoine Dodé, and Chris Dickey, and he is looking forward to the fifth and last book in the series.