Marshmallow reviews BrainJuice American History: Fresh Squeezed! by Carol Diggory Shields

Today Marshmallow shares some thoughts on a little book of history: BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson.

Marshmallow reviews BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson.
Marshmallow reviews BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you are looking for an amusing history book or like poetry, this might be the book for you.

Too many books? No time to read?
BrainJuice is just what you need.
We squeezed the facts, threw in some rhyme,
Twice the knowledge in half the time.

Whether slowly sipped or gulped with gusto,
BrainJuice
is:
Nutritionally Balanced!
Masterfully distilled!
Unconditionally guaranteed pure!
Totally concentrated;

And
100% refreshing!

This is the poem on the back of this BrainJuice book. BrainJuice American History Fresh Squeezed! explains history in short, memorable poems. It teaches the reader about American history since 245,000,000 BCE when the dinosaurs were around. This is the first poem in the book:

THE FIRST
The first Americans who roamed the prairie
Were kind of big and kind of scary
Some lived alone, some in a bunch,
A few of them ate the others for lunch.
Some were gentle, some were mean,
Some were spotted or dotted or green.
They hissed and growled and roared great roars—
The first Americans were dinosaurs.

The book contains a total of forty-one poems and ends with a moving poem about the Statue of Liberty, called The Lady.

Marshmallow is pointing at one of the poems in BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson. This is about Christopher Columbus and his arrival in the Americas.
Marshmallow is pointing at one of the poems in BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson. This is about Christopher Columbus and his arrival in the Americas.

Marshmallow’s review: Some people think that history is boring, but this book is proof that it is not. The poems are written in a style that will entertain and teach the reader about the American Revolution, the Presidents, and the “discovery” of the Americas. It is a great book for parents to get for their children / child if they want them to be interested in the fascinating history of America. But I think that this would be a good book for all ages. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is a great read for those who think that history is just memorizing dates and the events that happened on those dates. The poems are short so they are easy to memorize so soon you will know all of the main events that occurred in American history quickly and efficiently. Anyone who wants to learn about American history can get down some of the basic facts with this book.

Marshmallow is reading one of the poems in BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson. This is about the presidents.
Marshmallow is reading one of the poems in BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson. This is about the presidents.

The pictures in the book add a lot to the poems. I especially liked the pictures that had writing on them. Some of the pictures are funny and others are just more descriptive.

The pages of the book are split into two parts. There is a thin pink strip on the top of each page which is a timeline that starts in 245,000,000 BCE (when the dinosaurs are around) and ends on September 11, 2001 when “Over 3,000 are killed in terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.” The rest of the page typically contains a poem or a picture associated to the time period.

Another good thing about this fantastic book is that it explains well some very difficult events that might be challenging to explain to young children. It describes the Trail of Tears, for example, but it iis not all inclusive of course. For example it does not mention Japanese internment camps, which I read about in They Called Us Enemy.

Marshmallow’s rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson 95%.
Marshmallow rates BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson 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%.

Marshmallow reviews They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

Marshmallow enjoys graphic novels just like many other bunnies, but she has been especially taken by a 2019 book, the memoir They Called Us Enemy, written by the Star Trek veteran George Takei together with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, and illustrated by Harmony Becker. Below she shares her thoughts on this striking book.

Marshmallow reviews They Called Us Enemy, written by the Star Trek veteran George Takei together with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, and illustrated by Harmony Becker.
Marshmallow reviews They Called Us Enemy, written by the Star Trek veteran George Takei together with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, and illustrated by Harmony Becker.

Marshmallow’s Overview: In the book They Called Us Enemy, George Takei writes about what it was like to live in a Japanese internment camp. The internment camps were places where the USA put Japanese Americans and people who had come from Japan to find better opportunities in the USA during the second world war.

This was a dark time in American history that is not always emphasized. According to Wikipedia:

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government … The legislation admitted that government actions were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internment_of_Japanese_Americans

George Takei was put in an internment camp when he was a little boy. He stayed there for four years. The time that he spent in the camps was very important and affected his whole life. This book tells his story.

Marshmallow’s Summary: One day, George wakes up and he and his family are ordered to leave their home. As a reaction to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the US government gathered most Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans and put them in the camps because many Americans thought that they might betray the United States of America. George does not realize any of this because he is a little boy at the time that he is put in the camp.

George’s family has to board a train to get to the camp and they can only bring what they can carry and that is not much. To add on to that, the government makes them sell everything else that they own. 

When they get to the camp, they see that it is in the middle of nowhere and that they are surrounded by barbed wire and watch towers that have men with guns watching then. George and his family, which includes his brother, Henry, his sister, Nancy Reiko, his father, Takekuma Norman Takei, and his mother, Fumiko Emily Nakamura, have to sleep in a tiny house split by walls that are not sound-proof and their neighbors are able to hear everything that they say. So, in the end the parents decide that they will speak Japanese to each other when talking about private stuff.

They Called Us Enemy is a graphic novel with very realistic drawings. Marshmallow is pointing to the page where George’s parents are frustrated and outraged by the way they are treated.

When they come to the house it is very hot. The book compares it to a furnace. When they were in the camp, many people lose loved ones. For example, Mrs. Takahashi loses her husband because he is a Buddhist minister. She has four children. Those four children lose their father. Mr. Yasuda is taken by federal agents because he is teaching children how to speak Japanese.

“Their husbands’ only crimes were that they occupied highly visible positions…”

Not only are they being taken from their homes, but they are also losing family and friends.

Marshmallow’s Review: This was a very bad time for many people and this book shows how devastating it was. It is a very good book that captures the essence of how important this event is in American history. The internment of Japanese Americans was a big event especially for people who suffered though it and lost members of their family and friends. It is also important for us today. We need to know our past so we don’t make similar mistakes in the future.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei, written together with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, and illustrated by Harmony Becker, 100%.
Marshmallow rates They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei, written together with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, and illustrated by Harmony Becker, 100%.

Marshmallow reviews Lucy and Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown

Marshmallow reviews Lucy & Andy Neanderthal, the first book in the Lucy & Andy Neanderthal series of Jeffrey Brown.

Marshmallow and Caramel recently got their paws on books by Jeffrey Brown. A couple weeks ago, Caramel reviewed his, My Teacher is a Robot. Today Marshmallow reviews hers, the first book in the Lucy & Andy Neanderthal series of Jeffrey Brown: Lucy & Andy Neanderthal.

Marshmallow reviews Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown.
Marshmallow reviews Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like comic books or fiction books that also have some facts about interesting stuff, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Lucy & Andy Neanderthal is a comic book about a brother and a sister, Lucy and Andy Neanderthal, who are two Neanderthal kids living in the Stone Age. They have a little brother, Danny, and share their cave with a few other people including two older kids, Phil and Margaret. Andy really wants to join their family when they go to hunt, but his parents will not let him because hunting mammoth is too dangerous. 

Lucy and Andy have many adventures. One of them, “Substitute Babysitters”, starts with a rock Andy throws that hits Phil on the head by accident. Phil’s head swells. Lucy, Andy, and Margaret take Phil to Lucy and Andy’s mother so she can help him. She goes looking for medicine, and leaves Andy and Lucy to look after their little brother, Danny, while Margaret looks after Phil. 

Danny finds a stick and starts banging it around. Lucy takes the stick from him, and Andy gives another stick to Danny. Lucy keeps finding a problem with the sticks Andy offers to Danny, like how it is too small and how Danny could choke on it. Then Danny starts crying and Andy gives him another stick, but Danny slaps it away. Then they follow Danny to the cave where Margaret offers him some berries. Danny eats the berries and then he throws up. Lucy has Andy clean it up and then Andy gets mad and imitates Lucy. Lucy farts and then blames it on Andy. In the midst of this chaos, Danny sneaks away. 

Once the older kids realize that Danny sneaked away, they start to panic. They start looking for Danny and find Danny’s pants. Phil thinks that Danny must have been eaten, but Andy says that Danny always takes his pants off. Eventually they find Danny and get him to come back to the cave. 

The above probably already gives you a sense of the kinds of stories in the book. They are always hilarious! But close to the end of the book, the Neanderthals meet the humans. The humans invite the Neanderthals over to dinner because they ate the leftovers of the mammoth that the Neanderthals hunted. Will the two groups be friends or mortal enemies?

Marshmallow is pointing to a typical page of Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown.
Marshmallow is pointing to a typical page of Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown.

Marshmallow’s review: Lucy & Andy Neanderthal is a very funny book. Jeffrey Brown’s drawings are very successful, and the writing is very clear, so even a reader who has never read a comic book before can enjoy reading the book. 

The main characters are fictional Neanderthals living in the Stone Age, but there are also two scientist characters who tell us facts that relate to the stories. They tell us about the first toothbrush for instance, and the differences between the modern humans and the Neanderthals. There are more facts at the end of the book. For instance, you can learn there that Neanderthal women hunted, too:

“Scientists still debate whether men hunted more, but Neanderthal women at least participated in some, if not all, hunting.”

I enjoyed this book very much and reread it many times. I highly recommend it to people who like comic books and Neanderthals. Of course you might not know you like Neanderthals before reading the book. So why don’t you just give it a try?

Marshmallow’s rating: 100% 

Marshmallow rates Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown 100%.
Marshmallow rates Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown 100%.