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 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Marshmallow reviews Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, first published in 1868.

Marshmallow occasionally picks up classic children’s books. This time she wanted to talk about Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, first published in 1868. Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes. There are some spoilers in the discussion so reader beware!

Marshmallow reviews Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
Marshmallow reviews Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Sprinkles: A lot of people have read Little Women before you. It is a classic from 1868, and now it will be the oldest book you have reviewed. We had not gone into the nineteenth century before this. The oldest book you reviewed before this was from 1902.

Marshmallow: Pippi Longstocking was also kind of old. But you are right, this book is old.

S: Does its age show?

M: Yeah. All sisters get married and even the tomboy of the family, Jo, ends up wanting to get married. It seems like they cannot just have a girl who doesn’t want to marry.

S: It does seem a little constraining, that is true. But of course at the time this book was written, women did not really have too many options.

M: I understand but I still wish the author could have offered other alternatives, at least to one of them (Jo).

S: That is true. The author seems to have modeled Jo after herself to an extent, and she, the author that is, was never married.

M: Yes, I did wish Jo had not gotten married. And it seemed that they all got married so early!

Marshmallow is reading  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
Marshmallow is reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

S: Ok, maybe it will make sense for us to try and piece together a timeline of sorts for what happens when. So at the beginning …

M: There are four sisters, Meg March, Jo March, Beth March, and Amy March.

S: At the start of the book their ages are 16, 15, 13, and 12. And they all have very distinct personalities, right? Can you tell us a bit about them?

M: Let me read to you the synopsis from the book jacket:

There’s Meg, at 16 the oldest, who longs for a rich life full of beautiful things and free from material want. Next comes Jo, the willful and headstrong tomboy, who plans to become a writer and who retires to the attic when “genius burns.” Gentle, music-loving Beth, “the pet of the family,” is delicate and sweet. And fashionable Amy, the youngest of the four, is artistic, beautiful, spoiled, and in a hurry to grow up.

S: And the first part of the book (the first twenty-three chapters), which was published as a stand-alone book on itself in 1868, ends a year later, when the girls are 17, 16, 14, and 13. So they are still pretty young, but they are looking towards great things.

M: And the next part of the book is actually three years later. In Chapter 24 the author writes: “The three years that have passed have brought but few changes to the quiet family.”

S: According to Wikipedia, this second part was initially published separately under the title “Good Wives”, a title picked by the publisher. Then starting in 1880, the two books were published as one, under the title Little Women. But in any case, now how old are the sisters at the beginning of this part?

M: Meg is 20, Jo is 19, Beth is 17, and Amy is 16. It is sad though. Beth dies in this book! And she is so young!

S: Yes, a lot of the main events in this story are related to the author’s own life. Louisa May Alcott apparently had a sister Elizabeth, who died around the age that Beth in the book dies. And Jo seems to be modeled after the author herself.

M: Yes, Jo is the writer of the family after all! But it is still so sad that Beth dies. And it is even sadder that there was a real Beth who died so young too.

S: That is true. Life can be cruel sometimes. But there are happy parts of the book, too, no?

M: Yes. The book is not all about sad things. Meg has twins and she loves them and enjoys her time with them. And they are really funny kids.

S: So maybe this is a good place to stop the review, on a note of joy and hope. Do you have some last words for our readers?

M: This book is interesting and its plot is detailed and complex. Even though it is an old book, I can see why it is still a classic. I would definitely recommend other bunnies to check it out!

Marshmallow rates  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 95%.
Marshmallow rates Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 95%.

Marshmallow reviews To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Marshmallow reviews To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.

Marshmallow has begun to read To Night Owl From Dogfish a few weeks ago and finally today she is ready to share her thoughts about it with the readers of the Book Bunnies blog. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Marshmallow reviews To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.
Marshmallow reviews To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.

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

Marshmallow: Sure, let me give you a brief summary first.

One day, Avery Allenberry Bloom gets an email from a girl named Bett Garcia Devlin. The email says that she has a gay dad just like Avery and that their fathers are now in love.

Avery does not believe Bett at first and thinks that she is lying. Then Bett says that they are both supposed to be going to a sleepover camp called CIGI. And while they are at the camp, the fathers will be in China. Avery knows that she is going to that camp, and so she starts to believe Bett.

The girls are both alarmed because they do not want to one day be sisters. But at camp they meet face to face for the first time and they start to become friends and they actually start wanting their parents to get married. But then the two fathers break up and things get messy.

S: This sounds a lot like The Parent Trap, an old movie by Hayley Mills. You probably have not seen that movie, but in that movie too, there are two girls who want to get their parents together. Actually it turns out that the two girls are actually twins and the parents are both their parents. Bett and Avery aren’t twins though, of course, right?

M: No they’re not.

Marshmallow is reading To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.
Marshmallow is reading To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer.

S: So what else happens in the book? Are the girls at the camp for the rest of the book?

M: No. Actually they get kicked out of the camp, and they go stay with Avery’s biological mom. Then Avery’s father gets mad at the mother and then decides to come back from China early.

S: Is that when the two fathers break up?

M: Yes. And the rest of the book is more or less all about the girls trying to set things right.

S: That sounds interesting.

M: They do go to a lot of other places in the book.

S: The whole book seems like it is a collection of letters and emails, right? There seem to be no standard narrative segments.

M: Yes, that’s true. It is an interesting feature of the book. The whole story is written as a series of letters, emails, and text messages.

S: That sounds strange. How did it work for you?

M: It was very interesting to read a book written like this.

S: Did it ever get confusing? Were you always aware of who was writing?

M: Yes because on the top corner of each letter, there was the sender and recipient information, and the subject line, like in an email.

S: That is neat! So who is the Night Owl and who is Dogfish?

M: Night Owl is Avery and Dogfish is Bett.

S: Why?

M: In one text, Bett asks Avery what animal she would be if she were an animal. Avery says she’d be a night owl because she reads a lot at night. And Bett responds that she would be Dogfish, because she loves swimming and she loves her dog.

S: So would you recommend this book to other bunnies?

M: Yes, this is a very good read. This would be a good book for people who like reading about friendship. An interesting thread in the book is about how the two girls don’t want their fathers to be a couple at first but eventually they start enjoying each other’s company and their opinions change.

S: This looks to me like a good place to wrap up this review. Is there anything you want to say to finish things off Marshmallow?

M: Yes! Happy reading! And stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Marshmallow rates To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer 95%.
Marshmallow rates To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer 95%.

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%.