Marshmallow reviews Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Both Marshmallow and Caramel are keen readers of graphic novels and they have both reviewed a handful of them for this blog. In particular Marshmallow has reviewed two books by Raina Telgemeier in 2020; you can check out her reviews of Ghost (2016) and the graphic novel version of Ann N. Martin’s Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) (2006). Today she decided to talk about another book by Telgemeier, the 2012 book Drama.

Marshmallow reviews Drama by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow reviews Drama by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about school, or you like to think about theatre and plays and performances in school, or if you like graphic novels and have especially enjoyed books by Raina Telgemeier, like Ghosts, for example, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Seventh grader Callie is on the stage crew as set designer for this year’s production of Moon over Mississippi, with her best friend, Liz, who is in charge of the costumes. However, she is having issues with her friendships. Also, the school has a limited budget for the performance, so she is restricted in terms of the set pieces she can make. She wants to have a cannon for example, but their budget will allow for only two sets. 

Callie loves theater and she would try out, but she is unable to sing. However, she makes friends with a pair of twins, Jesse and Justin, one of whom, Justin, is trying out for the leading man. The other twin, Jesse, can sing but wants to give his brother a chance to shine. Unfortunately, when the results come out, Justin does not get the leading role. He gets one of the other roles, Colonel Scrimshaw; Justin is very disappointed. Also, Bonnie, a girl Callie does not like, gets the leading woman role. This creates some issues in terms of the cast and the stage crew. 

Also the cannon Callie wanted so much is not working out, as the confetti poppers they are using fails the first time. Callie has to deal with complicated sets, and complications in her social life. Can Callie get Moon over Mississippi up and running?

Marshmallow is reading Drama by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow is reading Drama by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Review: This book is written in a different way than is usual. The characters are actually in a play, themselves. The book is written as if we are seeing the scenes of the play; only in between them, we see the author and the audience. I thought it was interesting that the characters were creating a play, as they performed in one themselves, and it worked really well for me.

According to the Wikipedia article for it, Drama was the seventh most banned book of the 2010-2019 decade in the United States. This seems to be due to the fact that two of Callie’s good friends are gay and they are portrayed in a positive way, which some parents believe children should not be exposed to. However I thought the gay characters were portrayed just as all the others were, and things flowed naturally and realistically. Just like To Night Owl From Dogfish, which also had some gay characters without making the whole story about gender identity or sexual orientation (which might make things more contentious for some), Drama tells a good, compelling story about a bunch of middle schoolers, who are diverse in many ways, and is worth the read.

As the story is about middle school, Drama might be more appropriate for bunnies older than 9. Also there is some falling in love and having crushes stuff going on, and younger bunnies will most likely not find that too exciting.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

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

Marshmallow reviews Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis, Christos H. Papadimitriou, Alecos Papadatos, and Annie di Donna

Marshmallow recently got her paws on Logicomix, a graphic novel telling of the first two-thirds of philosopher-mathematician Bertrand Russell‘s life, as it is intertwined with the story of the stormy events related to the philosophical foundations of mathematics that occurred in the early twentieth century. The book is most likely not intended for young readers, but Marshmallow found it interesting and wanted to review it for the book bunnies blog. Below is her conversation with Sprinkles about this book, written by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou, and illustrated by Alecos Papadatos and Annie di Donna.

Marshmallow reviews Logicomix, written by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou, and illustrated by Alecos Papadatos and Annie di Donna.
Marshmallow reviews Logicomix, written by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou, and illustrated by Alecos Papadatos and Annie di Donna.

Sprinkles: So Marshmallow, tell us a little about this book.

Marshmallow: The first thing I want to say is that this is not a children’s book. It’s not necessarily inappropriate for children, but some concepts might be confusing for young bunnies.

S: Why did you read it?

M: It looked interesting. It is a graphic novel and I like those.

S: I see. So tell us what it is about.

M: It’s about Bertrand Russell. He is a philosopher. Basically it is about his life.

S: And the book has a really intriguing subtitle: “An Epic Search for Truth”. How is that related to Russell?

M: I think it’s because he spent a lot of time thinking about what truth means, the true meaning of “true”.

S: Yes, Russell is a foundational figure for modern mathematical logic today. I find his story fascinating and I really liked this book myself when I read it. So what else do you want to tell us?

M: There are parts of the book where the two authors, the illustrators, and a researcher who is helping them with the project are talking among themselves. And there are the other parts where we basically follow Bertrand Russell give a speech about his life and his work in logic. The speech is supposed to be about “the role of logic in human affairs” and apparently Russell did not give any such speech.

S: But it probably makes a good plot device to tell us about his life, I guess.

M: Yes, I think it works.

Marshmallow is reading Logicomix, written by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou, and illustrated by Alecos Papadatos and Annie di Donna.
Marshmallow is reading Logicomix, written by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou, and illustrated by Alecos Papadatos and Annie di Donna.

S: So did you know about Bertrand Russell before reading this book?

M: No.

S: What do you think about him now, after having read it?

M: I think he is an interesting person. But according to this book review you showed me, not everything in the book is accurate.

S: Yes, I think the authors themselves say they took some artistic license with some of the facts. And that book review is a careful scholarly overview of the book that readers who might be curious about the accuracy of the text might check out. But let us get back to your reading of the book. What appealed to you most about this book?

M: Well, I liked the switch between the creators of the book and the subject of the book. It made things interesting. I also did not know about Russell and Wittgenstein and Gödel, and any of those philosophers, so I learned a lot.

S: And the book does cover a lot of ground in terms of the foundational debates of the early twentieth century. How did all that work out for you?

M: What do you mean by foundational debates?

S: I mean, the questions about the foundations of mathematics, of logic, of truth. How these folks were trying to understand why mathematics was true, how it worked, and so on.

M: I think some of that went over my head. But I did find it cool that people were thinking so hard about why math is true.

S: I know you find philosophical questions intriguing. The ones in this book are quite specific to math, it seems at first, but then if you think about it, we all want to know what is true, what makes something true, as opposed to false, fake news, or disinformation, or misinformation.

M: Yes. I did a project on all those this year. I used this website which talks about all the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide, and how it is everywhere, and how you should be very very afraid. But of course dihydrogen monoxide is just H2O, which is water!

S: Yes, I really liked your project! So we know it is sometimes hard to know what is true and what is not. And this book is about some philosophers who are trying to think about these questions very carefully and trying to see how to connect them to math.

M: Yes, I think that makes sense.

S: So I know you were not looking for philosophy or math when you started. Did all that overwhelm you when you were reading it?

M: No. I think they explained things in ways people could understand. I guess some things are a bit confusing, and I probably did miss some things, and maybe younger bunnies might not get any of the philosophical stuff, but it was interesting for me.

S: That’s great Marshmallow! And maybe you will come back to this book in a few years’ time if you are curious to dig deeper into the philosophical questions in it. I’m glad you read it!

M: Me too.

S: So as we wrap up this review, I’ll ask how you rate the book…

M: I rate this book 95%.

S: Sounds good! I know you always like to end our chats the way Caramel ends his reviews. So go ahead!

M: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Marshmallow has enjoyed reading Logicomix, written by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou, and illustrated by Alecos Papadatos and Annie di Donna and rates it 95%.
Marshmallow has enjoyed reading Logicomix, written by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou, and illustrated by Alecos Papadatos and Annie di Donna and rates it 95%.

Caramel reviews The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes

Caramel has already reviewed the graphic novel versions of the first three books of Tui Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series. (See Caramel’s review of The Dragonet Prophesy here; his review of The Lost Heir is here; and finally his review of The Hidden Kingdom is here.) Today, for his last review for 2020 (and the last review of the book bunnies until February 2021), he decided to review the fourth book in the series that appeared (just yesterday!) as a graphic novel: The Dark Secret (adapted by Barry Deutsch and Rachel Swirsky, art work by Mike Holmes, color by Maarta Laiho). As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions as needed.

Caramel reviews The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.
Caramel reviews The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, I saw you were so eager to get your paws on this book as soon as possible. Was it worth the wait?

Caramel: Yup. Most definitely.

S: So you have read it once so far. What happens in this book?

C: In the beginning Starflight finds himself in the Night Kingdom because some NightWings have kidnapped him.

S: Oh then, the rest of the book is him trying to get back?

C: Nope. There is that but there are a lot of other things happening, too. They run to the rain forest and have other adventures.

S: Do we learn more about the prophesy in this book?

C: Yes, apparently, it’s … oops, I should not spoil it for the readers. But yes, we learn a lot of new things that I didn’t know.

S: At least tell us: are they interesting and surprising?

C: Yep yep yep!

Caramel is reading The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.
Caramel is reading The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes.

S: Tell me more about Starflight. Did we meet him before in one of the earlier books?

C: Yes, of course. He is one of the five dragons the prophesy says will save the world. Remember, he is a NightWing but cannot tell the future or read minds like most others can.

S: So each of the books tells the adventures of one of these five dragons, right?

C: Right. The first one was about Clay, the MudWing. The second was about Tsunami, the SeaWing. The third was about Glory, the RainWing. And this is about Starflight, the NightWing. Then of course the fifth one should be about Sunny, who is a SandWing.

S: That seems to me to be a good narrative strategy for series. I do hope you will some day read the books these graphic novels are based upon, too. I expect those will have a lot more details about these characters and their world.

C: Yes, I think I will some day. But for now I want to read the graphic novels over and over again.

S: Okay then. We can wrap up this review so you can read it again.

C: Sure.

S: We should also remind our readers that we will be off for January 2021, and we will be back in February 2021.

C: Yes! Happy new year everyone! And stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel has very much enjoyed reading The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes, and is looking forward to rereading it over and over through the holidays. .
Caramel has very much enjoyed reading The Dark Secret (Book Four of Wings of Fire) by Tui Sutherland and Mike Holmes, and is looking forward to rereading it over and over through the holidays. .

Caramel reviews The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan

A couple weeks ago Caramel reviewed the graphic novel version of the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series: The Lightning Thief, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Jose Villarrubia, Orpheus Collar, and Chris Dickey. This week he talks about the second book in the series: The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey. As usual Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.

(Marshmallow has already reviewed the original; see here for her review.)

Caramel reviews The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey.
Caramel reviews The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, let us hear what you have to say about this book.

Caramel: If you already read the graphic novel version of The Lightning Thief, then this is a good book to read next.

S: So readers need to have read the first book of the series, right?

C: Yes.

S: Would it be enough to have read the original book or the graphic novel?

C: I think reading the originals first makes it easier to follow the graphic novels too.

S: But I am guessing that someone who only reads the graphic novel versions will still get a good story, is that correct?

C: Yes, definitely.

S: Then tell us that story a bit.

C: Percy Jackson, and his friend Annabeth (who eventually becomes his girlfriend) go on a quest that they are not even supposed to go on! Percy Jackson never listens to instructions.

S: Wait, so there is a quest and someone else is supposed to go ..

C: Yes, Clarisse La Rue, a daughter of war god Ares, is the one who is chosen but Percy and Annabeth don’t let go.

S: It is interesting how a lot of main characters in books don’t listen to instructions, right?

C: Yes, Harry Potter never listens to Professor Dumbledore, or Hermione, who is almost always right.

S: That’s true. But maybe through their mistakes we the readers learn some things, like listening to those who are older or wiser than us might actually be a good idea.

C: I agree with that! I do get mad at Harry or Percy when they don’t listen!

Caramel is reading The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey.
Caramel is reading The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey.

S: Okay, yes, let us get back to the book. What is this quest about?

C: They need to get the golden fleece. The golden fleece is a mythical object that heals anything.

S: Like that little scab on your knee?

C: Yes, I think if we had the golden fleece, my knee would get better much faster.

S: I think your body is doing really well healing on its own though? I think you will not even see it in a couple weeks.

C: I guess. But the golden fleece heals things much worse than a scarred knee. And it is hidden far far away.

S: And so our heroes have to face many new challenges to get to it, right?

C: Yes, and many new monsters!

S: Which monster was the most interesting one for you in this book?

C: I thought the monsters that wait in the sea of monsters to swallow up ships and heroes are the most interesting ones. Let me see… they are called Scylla and Charybdis. Together they destroy many ships.

S: And that is how in this story world we explain the Bermuda Triangle myth, right? Many people believed that in this region of the North Atlantic ocean, there was some mystery that led to disaster for many ships.

C: Yes. They talk about this in the book too, at least in the original book. And this is the book where Percy meets his half-brother Tyson, who is a cyclops.

S: So half-brother means Tyson is also a son of Poseidon, right?

C: Yep.

S: But aren’t we supposed to dislike and fear cyclops?

C: Some might not be nice, but Tyson is a really good cyclops, and he is a good brother to Percy.

S: I see. Okay, then, maybe we should tie this review up here before we give away more details. What three words would you use to describe this book Caramel?

C: Colorful, Greek mythology, and Percy Jackson.

S: Well, some of those are not descriptive words, but I’ll let it slide this time. What else do you want to say to our readers as we wrap things up?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey.
Caramel enjoyed reading The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan, adapted by Robert Venditti, with Attila Futaki, Tamas Gaspar, and Chris Dickey.