Marshmallow reviews The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd

Marshmallow reviews The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd.

Marshmallow often enjoys reading books about young people with interesting powers. Today she reviews The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd.

Marshmallow reviews The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd.
Marshmallow reviews The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about magic and fate, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): Emma Pearl Casey is part of a unique family. Every girl in her family has a Destiny Dream, in which they see what their purpose in life is and what their mark in history will be. The Destiny Dreams appear to them, and then they follow their destiny. 

“For Emma, her own Destiny Dream can’t come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she’d do whatever it took to fulfill her Destiny, and she doesn’t want to let her mother down.”

https://natalielloyd.com/books/the-key-to-extraordinary/

In her Destiny Dream, Emma sees a field of flowers. In the middle of the field there is a bundle of flowers, a violet, a daisy, and a rose. In the bundle she sees a key. Different people see different things in their Destiny Dreams. For example, Daphne Prescott, another member of her family, saw in the field of blue flowers a mirror, and in the mirror, she saw herself holding a sign saying, “WOMEN GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE!” and an American flag. 

The Destiny Dreams do not come at a certain age. Daphne Prescott got her dream when she was seventy-four, and Emma has hers when she is twelve. 

Some Destiny Dreams are clearer than others. Emma’s is confusing.  

Emma lives next to a graveyard and her family owns a café, called Boneyard Café. They are famous for a special drink called the Boneyard Brew. It has the mysterious ability to make people feel hopeful. The secret magical ingredient is revealed before the end of the book. 

While Emma is trying to make sense of her mysterious dream, a man named Warren Steele comes to buy their town. Eventually she realizes that her destiny is to find the Conductor’s treasure, and I can’t tell you what that is without spoiling things. The bad news is that Warren Steele also wants the treasure. 

Who do you think will get it first? And what is the treasure? 

Marshmallow is reading The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd.
Marshmallow is reading The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd.

Marshmallow’s review: This is an interesting book. It is a little eerie and is sort of scary, but it is still a good book. I think that it is more appropriate for kids eight and up because it is a little confusing at times. But all in all, it is a great read. 

I like this book because it has an interesting plot and has interesting events. In the book they sometimes have Gypsy Rose summers. Apparently, these occur very rarely. In a Gypsy Rose summer, rose petals start to fall from the sky. The theory in the book is that the spirits are trying to get the people’s attention. (This is not a real phenomenon, nor is it a known legend. I looked it up.)

The author Natalie Lloyd did a good job of making the book an exciting read that will make everyone wonder what the treasure of the Conductor is and who the Conductor is to begin with. 

Happy Reading!

Marshmallow’s rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins

Marshmallow reviews Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins.

Marshmallow got a couple books from the Upside-Down Magic series at a book fair on her school campus and read them over and over for a while now. Below she reviews the first book in the series: Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins.

Marshmallow reviews Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins.
Marshmallow reviews Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about people who are different from others, and if you like magic, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): Nory Horace (Eleanor Horace) is the daughter of the schoolmaster of Sage Academy, so when she fails to get into the Academy, she and her father are very disappointed. Instead Nory goes to another school, Dunwiddle Magic School. 

In this book everybody has magic. They can either have the ability to light fires (a Flare), the ability to make friends with animals (a Fluffy), the ability to transform into animals  (a Fluxer), the ability to fly (a Flyer), or the ability to make oneself and other things invisible (a Flicker). You get your magic when you are ten. You don’t get to choose your magic. You find out what you are when you are ten.

Nory finds out that she has the ability to transform into animals, but unlike most people with that ability, she transforms into animals that are half and half, like a kitten that has dragon wings (a “dritten”) and a puppy that has squid legs. You get the idea.

Marshmallow is reading Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins.
Marshmallow is reading Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins.

Nory’s friend Elliot, instead of creating fire, freezes objects. Andres can fly much higher than an average kid who is a Flyer, but he can’t come down. Instead of transforming into live animals, Bax turns into inanimate objects like rocks or pianos. Pepper is the opposite of the type of person who makes friends with animals; instead she terrifies all animals, including humans transformed into animals. Marigold is like a type of Flicker; she makes things shrink. Willa can make it rain indoors. Sebastian can see sound waves.

This is the full class of the Upside-Down Magic class, for kids who do not have typical magic, or as they like to call it, kids who have upside-down magic. 

In their classroom, lessons are unconventional, students are unpredictable, and magic has a tendency to turn wonky at the worst possible moments. Because it’s always amazing, the trouble a little wonky magic can cause . .

https://www.sarahm.com/upside-down-magic

Nory has an exciting time in this class. 

Marshmallow’s review: This book is the first of a series of six, a hexalogy like Soman Chainani‘s School for Good and Evil series.(See my review of the fourth book here and the fifth here.) So far in the series I only read a couple, but I really enjoyed this first book. It shows how tough it is to be different from others, but how sometimes it can also be beautiful and unique and that you can enjoy being unique. For example, Nory eventually likes turning into a dritten. Being different can also be hard though. Elliot has some friends (Lacey, Zinnia, and Rune) that tease him because he freezes objects instead of burning them. They are very mean. 

Marshmallow’s rating: 90%. 

Marshmallow ranks Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins 90%.
Marshmallow ranks Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins 90%.

Marshmallow reviews Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

Marshmallow reviews Five Children and It, a novel by Edith Nesbit first published in 1902.

Marshmallow wanted to talk about E. Nesbit’s book Five Children and It today. Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.

Marshmallow reviews Five Children and It by E. Nesbit.
Marshmallow reviews Five Children and It by E. Nesbit.

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

Marshmallow: Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane, and Lamb the baby dig a hole to reach Australia. While they are digging, they find a strange creature called Psammead (a sand-fairy) that can grant wishes. At the beginning, the children wish to be as beautiful as the day and to have a lot of gold but then they realize that they must be more careful when they are making wishes. Whenever they make a wish, they always end up in trouble.

S: Oh, does this book remind you of another?

M: It’s kind of similar to Half Magic by Edward Eager. Just like in that book, the children find this object or fairy that grants them wishes and they eventually find that they need to think carefully about what they will wish for.

S: So what more can you tell us?

M: This is an interesting book that will beg the question, “If you could wish for anything. what would you wish for?”

I thoroughly enjoyed reading it because it was interesting how when the children wished for something like to be beautiful or when they wished to have wings, there was a problem. For example, when they wished to be “as beautiful as the day” after they tried to interact with their baby brother Lamb (whose real and full name is Hilary St. Maul Devereux). They then change and Lamb does not recognize them because they look different. Also when they try to go to their house their nursemaid does not let them in because they look different and not like their old selves. They get very hungry and thirsty and they realize that it was not a great idea to have wished to be “as beautiful as the day.”

S: What more do you want to say?

M: This is a very entertaining book, and very well written. It will make you want to read on to learn what wish the children make next.

S: Yes, they do make some strange wishes, don’t they? What did you think of the illustrations?

M: I thought the pictures were very successful.

Marshmallow is pointing out one of the many illustrations in Five Children and It by E. Nesbit.
Marshmallow is pointing out one of the many illustrations in Five Children and It by E. Nesbit.

S: And you have some thoughts on the characters?

M: Yes! Especially I liked the fact that the children act like children. Kind of like in the Ivy + Bean books!

S: This is a very old book. It could be the oldest book you have read. What do you think of that?

M: It is an old book. It does have some stereotypes, like girls always cry, and boys never do. But overall it is a good book.

S: Ok, so what would you have wished for if you had met Psammead?

M: I don’t know. What would you wish for?

S: I don’t know, either. It is a hard question, without all the challenges this particular sand-fairy brings. Maybe I’d wish for some good meal, or a good night’s sleep. Something simple like that… Or I could wish for a good book to read. This was one, you say?

M: Yes! I’d rate it 95%. And I really want to add this last sentence: Stay tuned for more book bunnies reviews!

Marshmallow rates Five Children and It by E. Nesbit 95%.
Marshmallow rates Five Children and It by E. Nesbit 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Half Magic by Edward Eager

This week Marshmallow reviews a 1954 classic, Half Magic by Edward Eager, the first book in his Tales of Magic series.

Marshmallow reviews Half Magic by Edward Eager.
Marshmallow reviews Half Magic by Edward Eager.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about magical charms, and adventure stories about a handful of siblings, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): The four siblings Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha are expecting to have a very boring summer. That is until they find the charm. The charm that works by halves. If you made a wish while touching the charm, then half of your wish would come true. So in order to get your whole wish you would have to say it in this fashion. Let’s say you wish is to have a dog appear then you would say that you wanted two dogs to appear because if you wished that one dog would appear then one half of a dog would appear. (You probably wouldn’t want to have half of a dog.)

Wishing for two times some things is a cinch, but other doubled wishes only cause twice as much trouble. What is half of twice a talking cat? Or to be half-again twice not-here? And how do you double your most heartfelt wish, the one you care about so much that it has to be perfect?

The children decide that they will take turns to use the charm. It turns out that other people have knowledge of the charm that grants wishes and they happen to want the charm. In a desert, which they travel to on Mark’s wish — he wants a desert island but the charmed coin takes them to a desert –. a man tries to abduct Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha. When he realizes that they have the charm, he says that they stole it from his people. 

On Katharine’s turn to make a wish, they travel into the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. They help stop Morgan Le Fay, an evil sorceress in this retelling of the myth, from kidnapping and killing the Knights of the Round Table.

Marshmallow is pointing toward one of her favorite parts of the book, where Jane makes a foolish decision. Here Jane is wishing that she belonged to a different family.
Marshmallow is pointing toward one of her favorite parts of the book, where Jane makes a foolish decision. Here Jane is wishing that she belonged to a different family.

They have some problems though, before they figure out how to use the charm. For instance, Martha wishes that she was not at the place she was and since she didn’t say it the way you need to, she became half there and half not there. The children eventually learn how to use it, and in the end, they have a very exciting summer, not at all the one they thought lay ahead.

Marshmallow’s Review: Half Magic is a classic and I think a great read for all ages. Written in 1954, it successfully entertained children for many years and probably will do the same for many to come. I enjoyed Half Magic very much and look forward to reading more about these characters in Edward Eager’s other novels.

Marshmallow’s rating: 100% 

Marshmallow rates Half Magic by Edward Eager 100%. And she adds: "May the Fourth Be With You!"
Marshmallow rates Half Magic by Edward Eager 100%. And she adds: “May the Fourth Be With You!”