Marshmallow reviews Meanwhile: Pick Any Path by Jason Shiga

About a year ago, Marshmallow reviewed a “choose your own adventure” (CYOA) book: The Sorcerer’s Maze Collection by Blair Polly and DM Potter. Today she shares her thoughts on a 2010 graphic novel, written in a similar manner: Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities, by Jason Shiga.

Marshmallow reviews Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities, by Jason Shiga.
Marshmallow reviews Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities, by Jason Shiga.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take:  If you like Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) books, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary:  Jimmy’s adventures start with a simple ice cream flavor choice: vanilla or chocolate. One of the two options leads to a short story, and the other leads to an exciting one. Depending on your choices, you end up in different places.

It all begins with a simple decision: Chocolate or Vanilla! Marshmallow reads Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities, by Jason Shiga.
It all begins with a simple decision: Chocolate or Vanilla! Marshmallow reads Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities, by Jason Shiga.

In one path, you come to a place called Kepler Labs, in which your character, Jimmy, asks to go to the bathroom. Then Professor K. asks you (Jimmy) which of his inventions you want to play with. It is your choice and the decision you make can change the story.  

Any choice that you make leads you to a different possibility. One possibility is that you make it home safe and sound. Another is that you end up destroying the world unwillingly. How the story unfolds depends on what path you choose. In the beginning of the book, there is a warning:

“Instead of one story, Meanwhile splits off into thousands of different adventures. Most will lead to DOOM and DISASTER. Only one path will lead to happiness and success.” 

Marshmallow’s Review: This an interesting, different type of Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) book because it is written like a graphic novel. Instead of being labeled by page numbers at the bottom of each page, you are led by a line that takes you from the frame that you are looking at. If the line splits into two, then you are being given the chance to choose. If it leads on the page and onto a flap, then you flip to the flap and continue. 

Because of how it functions differently from other books of its kind, reading Meanwhile can be a little bit confusing at the beginning, but once you get used to things, moving around in the book gets easier. 

Meanwhile is like a game because there are many different solutions (on the title page it says there are 3,856 possibilities–I didn’t count them all). It is fun and gives the reader a chance to change the story unlike other books, especially when the character is making a bad choice and you want to tell them to stop. This is very interesting because when the character makes a bad choice (or you do), then you can go back and fix it. I think that doing that is very fun.

Once you have tried a lot of the possibilities, you can decide to choose only the ones that you liked or try to find the one happy and successful path.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%. 

Marshmallow rates Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities, by Jason Shiga 95%.
Marshmallow rates Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities, by Jason Shiga 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel by Rey Terciero

Having already reviewed the original (unabridged) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Marshmallow recently read a modern retelling of the story: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo. Below she shares her thoughts on this book.

Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo.
Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women and enjoy graphic novels like Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are four siblings who live in Brooklyn, New York. Their father is away in the Middle East fighting in the army. Meg wants to marry rich, Jo wants to write and be left alone, Beth wants to be a songwriter, and finally Amy wants to be an artist. They all have problems in their lives. Amy is bullied in school, Beth has health issues, Jo has trouble dealing with her “secret”, and Meg doesn’t like being poor and wants to have nice things. They are also all very worried that their father will not come back from the war. 

Marshmallow’s Review: This modern retelling of the classic Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a great graphic novel. I think the author Rey Terciero and the illustrator Bre Indigo did a great job of remaking Little Women for today’s readers.

This book shows each of the original characters and their characteristics very well, The pictures are also all very well created. They depict the feelings of the characters very well. 

It is interesting how the author made this a modern retelling. Almost all of the events that happen in the original happen in the retelling except that they are modernized. As a result, this is not as old-fashioned as the original book. In the original, the sisters all get married (except for Beth, who dies). In this version nobody gets married because they are all too young (and nobody dies, either).

I think that this version of the story is a lot more relatable since the sisters are all realistic. All of the girls suffer from different problems, and on top of all that, they all worry for their father who is in the Middle East fighting in a war.

I also recently watched the movie remake of Little Women. Here is the official trailer, which made me really want to see the movie:

The official movie trailer of Little Women (2019).

The movie stuck very close to the original and so it was similar to the book but not precisely. But in the graphic novel, I liked how Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are all very different. If you read the original or watched the movie, you can tell that the characters in the graphic novel are the same characters, but they encounter many different problems and they are living in today’s world. They also all change a lot from how they were in the beginning, so the story is interesting.

This is a very good book for eight to seventeen year olds. It might be slightly confusing if you haven’t read the original, but you can read it and still get much out of it in any case.   

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo 100%.
Marshmallow rates Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo 100%.

Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Marshmallow enjoys reading graphic novels now and then, and she has reviewed some of them for the book bunnies blog. See, for example, her reviews of Lucy and Andy Neanderthal and Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown, and her review of They Called Us Enemy by George Takei. This week she reviews one of her recent favorites: Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like graphic novels or if you enjoyed Raina Telgemeier’s other books, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers):  Cat’s sister, Maya, has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that makes it hard to breathe. Cat and her family move to a place called Bahiá de la Luna. Their parents think that Bahiá de la Luna will benefit Maya from the salty air, but unfortunately, Cat doesn’t like their new home. Still, since she wants her sister to get better, she tries to adapt.

One day their neighbor tells them that there are ghosts in the area. Cat doesn’t believe him but she soon learns that the neighbor was telling the truth. Maya is determined to meet a ghost and find out what dying is like.

“As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.”

Marshmallow is reading Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow is reading Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is an interesting book. The author, Raina Telgemeier, creates intriguing characters like Maya. Maya sometimes makes you think that she is not aware that she can die but then you realize that she realizes more than you think she does. Not only are the characters interesting, but the characters are also very relatable. Cat is someone you can relate to. Cat is infuriated when someone accidentally hurts Maya, and the drawings show her emotions very well. More generally the author does a great job drawing images that show the emotions of each character very clearly.

Cat is very protective of Maya. She is probably always very stressed because she keeps worrying that her sister Maya might die if she does something that she is not supposed to do.

My favorite character in Ghosts is Maya because she is so cheerful and she tries not to let her disease bring her down.

The setting, Bahiá de la Luna, is sort of creepy. As it says in the book, it has a “laid-back Halloween vibe”.  

This book displays a very different style of writing than Raina Telgemeier’s usual style. Her other books do not often deal with supernatural events.

This graphic novel is probably best for readers of ages eight to fifteen.

“Raina Telgemeier has masterfully created a moving and insightful story about the power of family and friendship, and how it gives the courage to do what we never thought possible.”

This quote on the back of the book describes the book in a nutshell. In this book you learn about Mexican traditions like an ofrenda, an altar for the dead, or The Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos). 

(Ghosts is dedicated to Sabrina Castello Collado, Raina’s cousin who died at age thirteen.)

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

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

Marshmallow reviews Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown

Marshmallow reviews the second book in Jeffrey Brown’s Lucy and Andy Neanderthal series: Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age.

Last week Marshmallow reviewed They Called Us Enemy, written by the Star Trek veteran George Takei together with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, and illustrated by Harmony Becker. Today she wanted to review a more light-hearted graphic novel and she chose the second book of Jeffrey Brown’s Lucy & Andy Neanderthal series: Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age. For her review of the first book, Lucy and Andy Neanderthal, see here. (Caramel reviewed a book by Jeffrey Brown too; you might enjoy his review of My Teacher is a Robot.)

Marshmallow reviews Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown.
Marshmallow reviews Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown.

Marshmallow’s Overview:  If you like graphic novels and movies or books about the ice age, then this might be the book for you. You can enjoy it even if you have not read the first book (or my review of it).

Marshmallow’s Summary: Lucy and Andy Neanderthal are living in the Ice Age and now are friends with a clan of humans. Some of the Neanderthals like Lucy are best friends with some of the humans (Sasha), but her brother, Andy, is not enjoying the humans that are living in his cave with him. One human child, named Richard, especially annoys him by making fun of him. But he does make friends with a boy named Tommy who is scared of cave bears.

Lucy and Andy have fun with their new friends. They go to the beach and collect shells. They also face a cave bear. In the end, Sasha’s mom has a new child and so Sasha becomes an older sister.

Marshmallow is reading Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown.
Marshmallow is reading Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown.

Marshmallow’s Review: I enjoyed this book very much. Like the last book I reviewed this is a graphic novel. It has funny drawing and will make readers read it in one sitting. This book has excellent characters that are amusing, relatable, and interesting. It also has facts that intertwine fiction and nonfiction. 

“Fact and fiction cleverly collide in this prehistoric romp.

Shelf Awareness

The above quote describes this excellent book well. It is fun and entertaining to think about how humans and neanderthals must have interacted. The book is full of facts but is also completely hilarious. If you enjoyed the first book, you will certainly enjoy this one too.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading and rereading this terrific book about Neanderthals and the Ice Age. The author, Jeffrey Brown, draws hilarious drawings that describe that characters personalities. This is a very good book that can be read and reread over and over again.  I would recommend it to any and all bunnies who like books and want to laugh out loud while reading.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown 100%.
Marshmallow rates Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown 100%.