Marshmallow reviews Animal Friendship! Collection by National Geographic Kids

Marshmallow reviews Animal Friendship! Collection by National Geographic Kids, a collection of three books in one volume:

Book 1: Best Friends Forever! And More True Stories of Animal Friendships (by Amy Shields)

Book 2: The Whale Who Won Hearts! And More True Stories of Adventures with Animals (by Brian Skerry with Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld)

Book 3: Lucky Leopards! And More True Stories of Amazing Animal Rescues (by Aline Alexander Newman)

Marshmallow has been reading the Animal Friendship! Collection by National Geographic Kids on and off for a couple years now. Finally she is writing about it.

Marshmallow reviews Animal Friendship! Collection, Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them by National Geographic Kids.
Marshmallow reviews Animal Friendship! Collection: Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them by National Geographic Kids.

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

Marshmallow’s Overview: This book has three books in one volume:

Book 1: Best Friends Forever! And More True Stories of Animal Friendships (by Amy Shields)
Book 2: The Whale Who Won Hearts! And More True Stories of Adventures with Animals (by Brian Skerry with Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld)
Book 3: Lucky Leopards! And More True Stories of Amazing Animal Rescues (by Aline Alexander Newman)

In the first two books, there are four stories each, each made up of three chapters. The third book has three stories, each made up of three chapters. That means that there are, in total, eleven stories (all told in a total of 33 chapters) in the collection.

Each story is three chapters long. The stories are all about different animals: there are stories about leopards, apes, dogs, whales, cats, sharks, and so on. In the stories of the first book, there is a friendship between two species of animals that are each unique in different ways. Most stories in the second book are about human interactions with special animals, and the stories in the third book are about people rescuing hurt animals. The stories are all real, and the book contains many colorful photos of the events happening.

Marshmallow is pointing towards an adorable baby harp seal, the protagonist of only one of the many sweet stories in Animal Friendship! Collection, Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them by National Geographic Kids.
Marshmallow is pointing towards an adorable baby harp seal, the protagonist of only one of the many sweet stories in Animal Friendship! Collection: Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them by National Geographic Kids.

Marshmallow’s Review: The book cover says that this book is about “Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them”. This description is accurate as these are really heartwarming and amazing stories.  

This is a great read for people and rabbits who like nonfiction books about animals and people. It contains stories that have characters that are all loyal and kind to their friends or companions. 

My favorite book in the collection is Book 1: Best Friends Forever! I like this book because it has my favorite stories. The stories in this book are about animal friendships. The animals are very loyal to their companions who are from a different species, which makes it even more impressive that they are friends. The very first story is about Roscoe the dog and Suryia the orangutan. The second one is about a gorilla named Koko who loves cats. The third story is about a greyhound named Jasmine and the many different animals she becomes friends with. The last story of Book 1 is about Owen the hippo and his friend Mzee the tortoise.

The fact that this book is nonfiction is almost unbelievable since the stories are so unlikely but very cute and adorable. In my opinion this is a very good and well written book.

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%

Marshmallow rates Animal Friendship! Collection, Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them by National Geographic Kids 100%.
Marshmallow rates Animal Friendship! Collection: Amazing Stories of Animal Friends and the Humans Who Love Them by National Geographic Kids 100%.

Marshmallow reviews The Mysterious Mannequin by Carolyn Keene (Book #47 of Nancy Drew Detective Stories)

Marshmallow has read about fifty of the classic Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene. Below she shares her thoughts about The Mysterious Mannequin, the forty-seventh volume in the series, first published in 1970.

Marshmallow reviews The Mysterious Mannequin by Carolyn Keene (Book #47 of Nancy Drew Detective Stories).
Marshmallow reviews The Mysterious Mannequin by Carolyn Keene (Book #47 of Nancy Drew Detective Stories).

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like detective stories where the main character is a kid who solves crime mysteries, then this might be the book series for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Nancy Drew receives a mysterious package that contains a Turkish prayer rug that hides a message. Nancy’s friends, George, and Bess, help her figure out the message:

“Carson, find mannequin. I love her. Carry her to Constantinople.”

Nancy and her father Carson Drew decide that the sender is probably Farouk Tahmasp, a client of Mr. Drew who, after being charged for smuggling, disappeared mysteriously. But other people know about the rug that Farouk Tahmasp sent to the Drews: a man comes and attempts to steal the Turkish prayer rug. Luckily, Nancy’s dog Togo saves the day (and the rug). Nancy sees a man who looks exactly like the man who tried to rob the Drew house. He meets with a woman and shows her a note that is short but sad. She bursts into tears, and then when the man sees Nancy, he tells her to run. They flee and Nancy and her friends, George and Bess, run after them.   

Nancy is an amateur detective and immediately starts to search for the mannequin that the sender, Farouk Tahmasp, is looking for. Nancy finds a clue while dining at a Greek/Turkish restaurant. Nancy describes the thief and the woman who he talked to. She asks if he knows anyone by the descriptions that she tells him. Another man, probably the “neighborhood boss”, gets up and asks them (not very nicely) why they are asking all these questions. Nancy asks him who he is and then he goes back and sits down again. The owner of the restaurant, Mr. Akurzal, leaves. Later one of the waiters drops a note in Nancy’s lap. It says:

“There are many young people who answer your description but you might look for two men, Cemal Aga and Tunay Arik, and girls, Alime Gursel and Aisha Hatun.”

Find the people that the owner, Mr. Akuzal, told them about in the note. They cross out two of the suspects, Cemal Aga and Alime Gursel. That means that the main suspects are Tunay Arik and Aisha Hatun. They can’t find them though. Nancy and her friend, Ned, look but they can’t find the man Tunay Arik. Nancy and Ned start looking for Tunay Arik in shops. They don’t find him, but they do meet the two girls who lead them to Tunay Arik. Sue and Kathy, the two girls, take them to Tunay Arik’s location. He is not there though. They find out who is the woman, Aisha Hatun. They learn that Aisha and Farouk were in love and then Farouk got involved in the smuggling issue. (Farouk was proven innocent.) Farouk left and then Tunay started annoying her. Nancy and her friends, George, Bess, Aisha, Ned, Burt, and Evan, all leave to Turkey. The problem is that they don’t know where the mannequin is. Where is the mannequin?

Marshmallow is reading The Mysterious Mannequin by Carolyn Keene (Book #47 of Nancy Drew Detective Stories).
Marshmallow is reading The Mysterious Mannequin by Carolyn Keene (Book #47 of Nancy Drew Detective Stories).

Marshmallow’s Review:  This is one of my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries and I have read it over and over again, several times. The characters are interesting and the way that Nancy reveals the mannequin is intriguing.

It is also at the same time an old book and its age shows. I felt that occasionally it is not very culturally sensitive. But the book does try to give a flavor of Istanbul to the readers, and does mention some facts about Turkish history.

Nancy Drew is a little like Encyclopedia Brown (you can see my review of Encyclopedia Brown Books 1-4 here). Nancy Drew is not an encyclopedia of facts A to Z but is very intelligent. She has a very practical mind and has the ability to make connections that most of the time solve the mystery that she is working on. Her friends are not as intelligent but are helpful and supporting of her.

Marshmallow’s rating:95%

Marshmallow rates The Mysterious Mannequin by Carolyn Keene (Book #47 of Nancy Drew Detective Stories) 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Mysterious Mannequin by Carolyn Keene (Book #47 of Nancy Drew Detective Stories) 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Blubber by Judy Blume

Marshmallow reviews Blubber (1974) by Judy Blume, about school, bullying, and friendship.

Marshmallow likes reading books about school-age kids, even if there are no dragons or wizards, though she quite likes it when those kinds of things do appear. Below she reviews a classic, Blubber by Judy Blume, first published in 1974.

Marhsmallow reviews Blubber by Judy Blume.
Marhsmallow reviews Blubber by Judy Blume.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about things that happen at school, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Fifth grader Jill Brenner is a part of a group of girls that bully a girl named Linda. Linda is bigger than the other kids in the class and so is bullied and mistreated. Since she gave a report on the whale and talked about a whale’s blubber, the bullies call her Blubber. Jill’s group, along with the rest of the class, tease, bully, and mistreat Linda.

The gang of bullies is made up of girls named Wendy, Caroline, and Jill. In this group they all have roles. Wendy is the leader, while Caroline is the muscle that holds the victims’ hands together while Jill does whatever Wendy says. Wendy is very manipulative. All the teachers like her and so if one of her victims tells on her, she just comes up with a lie, and then the teachers believe her, and so she does not get in to trouble. In this terrible way Wendy not only makes herself seem innocent but also makes the victim look like a liar.

On Halloween, Jill and her friend, Tracy Wu, try to get revenge on a man named Mr. Machinist (apparently he is a mean person) by putting rotten eggs in his mailbox. They put the rotten eggs in his mailbox. Then they meet Wendy and Caroline, who don’t believe that they put the eggs in his mailbox. When they show the eggs to Wendy and Caroline, Mr. Machinist catches them. They manage to get away, but Mr. Machinist takes a picture of Jill and Tracy before they can get away.

Marshmallow is pointing toward the letter Mr. Machinist sent to Jill's parents.
Marshmallow is pointing toward the letter Mr. Machinist sent to Jill’s parents.

Later Mr. Machinist sends a letter to Jill’s and Tracy’s families telling them that they put rotten eggs in his mailbox and that they need to pay. Mr. Machinist assigns them the job of raking up leaves in his backyard.

At school the girls decide that someone must have told Mr. Machinist the names of the girls in the picture. They think that it must have been Linda. Jill convinces her friends that they should hold a trial to determine if Linda is innocent or not. The trial brings an unexpected twist which changes the course of the story. 

Marshmallow’s Review: This book is written in the first person, from the perspective of Jill Brenner, who is part of the gang that bullies Linda, or as the group of bullies call her, Blubber. This fact (that the book is written in the first person) is not the only difference from most of the other books that I have reviewed though. (Ella Enchanted was also in first person.) The narrator, Jill, is just not a nice person. It is strange reading the story from her perspective. She does call Linda Blubber, which is not nice at all.

This book is about events that can occur in real life, and life doesn’t always end like “and they lived happily ever after“. This book does not end happily, but the main message (“treat others how you want to be treated“) does come through very clearly. It will make a good read for readers who appreciate books that don’t end “happily ever after” but instead leave you with things to think about.

There are some curse words in the book, which is one of the reasons why it might not be appropriate for all young readers.

Marshmallow’s rating: 90%

Marshmallow rates Blubber by Judy Blume 90%.
Marshmallow rates Blubber by Judy Blume 90%.

Marshmallow reviews Make Your Own Optical Illusions by Clive Gifford and Rob Ives

This week Marshmallow reviews a neat activity book written by Clive Gifford (text) and Rob Ives (paper engineering): Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do.

Marshmallow reviews Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do by Clive Gifford and Rob Ives.
Marshmallow reviews Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do by Clive Gifford and Rob Ives.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books that are about optical illusions and how they work, then this might be the book for you.  

Marshmallow’s Overview: This book is about optical illusions and what makes them so convincing that they fool your brain and eyes in to thinking that something looks different than it actually is.

There is a large variety of optical illusions in the book. At the beginning we learn about literal illusions, cognitive illusions, and physiological illusions.

“Literal illusions simply use one type of object to trick your brain into thinking it is viewing a different object or scene. Cognitive illusions occur because of the way your brain judges and decides on the information sent to it by the eyes. Physiological illusions are designed to exploit the limits of your body and vision system.”

This page from Arizona State University, written by Abigail Howell, explains the difference between these three, in case you want to learn more. There are also neat examples of each in the book.

One of my favorite optical illusions in the book is a physiological illusion called Afterimages. This is where you stare at an image, for example a black light bulb, and then you look at a piece of paper that is white and then you see a glowing light bulb that looks like the light bulb you saw in the book but now the bulb you see is glowing! The reason that this happens is because, according to the book, your special light-detecting cells get tired after staring at an image for a long time, and they send a weak signal so that your brain reads it as the opposite color that the image actually is, thus making the light bulb look like it is glowing. 

Marshmallow is reading up on afterimages, a special kind of physiological illusion.
Marshmallow is reading up on afterimages, a special kind of physiological illusion.

The book has a total of 64 colorful pages of text and examples of illusions. Then there are twenty pages in the back that have cardboard cutouts. You can “press them out” and they come out easily, so you can build your own optical illusions, little hand-held thingies that you can use to fool or trick your brain and eyes into thinking in strange ways. Some of these hands-on projects are things that you spin and then you see a person running. Some of the papers that you can press out are one that are to help you see why one of the optical illusions work.

Marshmallow is proudly showing one of the optical illusion toys she made using the cutouts from Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do.
Marshmallow is proudly showing one of the optical illusion toys she made using the cutouts from Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a great book which contains many great optical illusions that will definitely fool you. Some are optical illusions that you can build, and some are ones that make your eyes see two images in one picture. The explanations given to explain what is happening in your brain when you get fooled are expertly written so that anyone can understand why you see something that is not on the page.

The authors, Rob Ives and Clive Gifford, have cooked up some great illusions that are really interesting. When these optical illusions are mixed together, they make a mind-boggling illusion book.

This is a hands-on book that includes projects that you can put together by yourself and then amaze your mind. I have only made some of the projects at this point and I am excited to make some more.

Overall Make Your Own Optical Illusions is a great book for all bunnies, especially those who like to play with their minds and hands (or paws?).      

Marshmallow’s rating: 95%

Marshmallow rates Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do by Clive Gifford and Rob Ives 95%.
Marshmallow rates Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do by Clive Gifford and Rob Ives 95%.