Caramel reviews Opposites Abstract by Mo Willems

Caramel has been a Mo Willems fan forever. He has already reviewed a book from his Pigeon series, another from his Elephant and Piggie series, and yet another from his Unlimited Squirrels series for the book bunnies blog. When Sprinkles heard about a new book by Mo Willems offering a different kind of art, she wanted to see what Caramel would think of the book. Below is Caramel’s review of Opposites Abstract. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Opposites Abstract by Mo Willems.
Caramel reviews Opposites Abstract by Mo Willems.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, I know you loved all the pigeon stories of Mo Willems, and you even reviewed one for our blog. Now Willems has written a book for baby bunnies and other young ones called Opposites Abstract. And you have read it just recently. Can you tell our readers a bit about the book? What is it about? How is it organized?

Caramel: It starts inside the front cover by saying “This is STARTING”, and in the end, on the very last page, it says “This is FINISHED”. All pages have either a picture or three words. The pictures are very colorful and the words are like this: “Is this DARK?” or “Is this MECHANICAL?” or “Is this SOFT?”

S: So it seems like one of those books you and I used to read together and look at the pages and learn about opposites.

C: Yes. I think that is the idea.

S: So what are some examples of opposites from the book?

C: I already told you about STARTING and FINISHED. Another was DARK and LIGHT. The opposite of MECHANICAL is ORGANIC, and the opposite of SOFT is HARD.

S: SOFT / HARD and DARK / LIGHT are quite standard in this kind of a book, but the STARTING / FINISHED one is a good one. I also did not see MECHANICAL / ORGANIC in this kind of book before.

C: There is more that is not that typical. There is the INDIVIDUAL and the GROUP. And INCLUSION and EXCLUSION.

S: Those are interesting choices. What kind of picture is drawn for the INDIVIDUAL and the GROUP?

C: The picture of the INDIVIDUAL is like an eye, a single circle, it could also be a head, or a little dandelion. And the GROUP has many many circles and they are all connected to one another.

S: I can see how that is an abstraction of the idea of a group of people, being connected to one another, and the other one is all alone, but also bigger and in the center. That is cool.

C: But some of the circles in the GROUP are bigger than the others, too. Maybe it is kind of like “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal”.

S: I see what you did! We should put a link to Marshmallow’s review of The Animal Farm here.

C: Yep.

Caramel is reading Opposites Abstract by Mo Willems.
Caramel is reading Opposites Abstract by Mo Willems.

S: I know you like mechanical things. What did you think of the picture for MECHANICAL?

C: It was interesting. There are pulleys, and a rectangular pulley system, and kind of looks like there is some mechanical production going on. Circles on the end of the pulleys and lights.

S: What is the opposite picture like then?

C: The opposite is ORGANIC. There are ovals, they look like cells or single-cell organisms.

S: So they look more alive and organic, I suppose.

C: Yep, and that is the word: ORGANIC. O-R-G-A-N-I-C.

S: That is neat! I am guessing you will not forget how to spell “organic” ever again. Anyways, what did you think of the pictures?

C: I think they are awesome. They are very colorful and they fit the word they are supposed to describe. Sometimes it takes me a while to think about them, but I do see them in the end.

S: I know, right? They are just ripe for discussion. So I can see an adult bunny reading this together with a young bunny and them talking about each picture together. There is a lot to open up.

C: Yes, you and I did talk a bunch about each picture. The word CALM reminded you of a book I reviewed before, and when you told me that, I remembered it was Albert’s Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault. So much to think about and talk about!

S: So do you think other young bunnies would like to read this book with their adults?

C: YES!

S: Okay, so tell me your three words for the book and then we can wrap this up.

C: Colorful, wordless–

S: I guess you could say “sparse”.

C: Sparse works. And “opposites”. It is full of them!

S: I think that would work. So what do you want to tell our readers as we wrap up this review?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel loved reading Opposites Abstract by Mo Willems and will likely keep looking at its colorful pages for a lot more times in the coming weeks and months.
Caramel loved reading Opposites Abstract by Mo Willems and will likely keep looking at its colorful pages for a lot more times in the coming weeks and months.

Caramel reviews I Want to Sleep Under the Stars! by Mo Willems

Caramel has always enjoyed books by Mo Willems. He has already reviewed a book from his Pigeon series and another from his Elephant and Piggie series for the book bunnies blog. Today he reviews I Want to Sleep Under the Stars!, the third book in Willems’s more recent Unlimited Squirrels series. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews I Want to Sleep Under the Stars! by Mo Willems.
Caramel reviews I Want to Sleep Under the Stars! by Mo Willems.

Sprinkles: Hey Caramel, I saw you with a new Mo Willems book!

Caramel: Peace. Peace. Peace. Quiet. Quiet. Quiet.

S: What are you talking about?

C: Sorry, I was just reading the book.

S: So what is going on?

C: Right now I’m reading the part where three squirrels are yelling “Peace!” and another three are whispering “Quiet!”

S: But why?

C: Because Zoom Squirrel said he wants some peace and quiet to sleep so his friends break into two teams, one team for peace and another for quiet. And then they come and yell at Zoom: “Peace!” “Peace!” “Peace!” and the others whisper: “Quiet!” “Quiet!” “Quiet!”

S: Hmm, do you think that could help you go to sleep?

C: No, probably not. But they are trying.

S: So the story is that Zoom wants to sleep and his friends are really trying to help, and not really doing a great job with it. Did I get the story right?

C: Yes!

S: So all throughout, Zoom is trying to sleep and his friends’ help doesn’t help.

C: But they never give up trying to help. They want to be good friends. And they in the end help him to sleep under the stars in a way. But I won’t give away the ending!

S: Yes, let us not.

Caramel is reading I Want to Sleep Under the Stars! by Mo Willems. In these two pages, Zoom Squirrel is trying to sleep while her friends are trying to "encourage" her to sleep.
Caramel is reading I Want to Sleep Under the Stars! by Mo Willems. In these two pages, Zoom Squirrel is trying to sleep while the other squirrels are trying to “encourage” Zoom to sleep.

S: This sounds like a really sweet story. But this book has 96 pages! Is the story about Zoom trying to sleep under the stars the whole story of the book?

C: Most of it. But there are other things in the book too. There are some pages with facts about animals and stars, and three two-page parts where there are joking acorns telling jokes. They are weird jokes.

S: I thought a few of the jokes were fine, some were sillier than others.

C: The acorns tell only three jokes. But there are other animals asking questions too. There is a squirrel, the Quiz Squirrel, that asks a question about sleeping animals. They ask which of three animals sleeps longest every day.

S: Yes, that was interesting. Did you guess the answer?

C: No, I was wrong. It was interesting!

S: Yes, I agree. I thought that you might also enjoy the facts in this book. There are quite a few!

C: Yep. My favorite is about the sleeping animals, but I can’t give it away. Bunnies should figure it out on their own.

S: Yes, I agree. Okay then Caramel, before we wrap this up, what three words would you like to use to describe this book?

C: Colorful, squirrel-ly, funny.

S: I don’t think squirrel-ly is a word, but there are a lot of squirrels in this book so let’s keep it. So how do you want to end the review?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunnies reviews!

Caramel really enjoyed reading I Want to Sleep Under the Stars! by Mo Willems and is keen to read more about the Unlimited Squirrels!
Caramel really enjoyed reading I Want to Sleep Under the Stars! by Mo Willems and is keen to read more about the Unlimited Squirrels!

Caramel reviews The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems

Caramel loved everything he read about Mo Willems’ Pigeon and so he was excited to get his paws on a copy of his new adventure: The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! Below he reviews this book, published this summer. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions as needed.

Caramel reviews The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems.
Caramel reviews The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems.

Sprinkles: So another pigeon story, right?

Caramel: Yes! The pigeon is so funny! Here’s a quote:

“I wish I was a little chick again. A little-itty-bitty-not-going-to-school-baby-waybie pigeon!”

S: So that basically summarizes the book, right? The Pigeon does not want to go to school.

C: Yep.

Caramel is looking at the page where the Pigeon is worried about learning too much.
Caramel is looking at the page where the Pigeon is worried about learning too much.

S: Were you also worried about starting school, Caramel?

C: Yes. A little bit.

S: Why?

C: I was nervous because I thought, what if I won’t have any friends?

S: That’s totally natural Caramel. When we go into new places, we might be worried about not knowing anyone. But you did make friends pretty soon, right?

C: Yes! I found a good friend almost immediately. We still play fun stuff together.

S: So the Pigeon does not have to worry, right?

C: No. He doesn’t. School is fun!

S: Would that be what you would tell the Pigeon, that school is fun, so he does not have to worry?

C: Yep. I’d say don’t worry. It’s going to be alright. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be super duper awesome mega fun!

S: You like school a lot, don’t you Caramel?

C: Yep. I like my friends. I like my teacher. School is a lot of fun. But this year, I’ll probably have a new teacher. So I’m kind of worried. I already miss my old teacher.

S: Yes, your teacher was pretty cool, wasn’t she?

C: She was awesome!

S: I’m sure your new teacher will be awesome, too, Caramel.

C: Yes, I think so, too. I mean, I hope so.

S: Well, so in short we think school is fun. And the Pigeon doesn’t need to worry. What else do you want to say about this book Caramel?

C: This book would be a good book for kids who are starting school and who are a little scared.

S: Yes, Caramel! The Pigeon says all kinds of things that might worry a young child starting school. Like …

“What if the teacher doesn’t like pigeons?”

C: I really like the part where he is talking about heavy backpacks, but my favorite part is when he says:

“The unknown stresses me out, dude.”

S: The unknown can stress us out of course. We can totally see what the Pigeon is talking about, right?

C: Yes. There is a lot of stuff he doesn’t know about school and he is worried. He doesn’t even know if the finger paint will stick to his feathers!

S: Did you ever worry about finger paint Caramel?

C: No! I was worried about making friends and having a nice teacher. Finger paint sounds like fun! But we don’t do it too much in school actually.

S: You did some in preschool, but you might have forgotten. But you still do a lot of fun things at your school, right?

C: Yes, I love my school! It’s the best bunny school in the whole wide world!

S: And hopefully the school the Pigeon is going to is going to be the best school ever for pigeons.

C: Yes. I bet it will. Let us stop here. Readers: stay tuned for more reviews from the book bunnies!

Caramel wants to tell all pigeons that there is nothing to worry about and that school is really a lot of fun.
Caramel wants to tell all pigeons that there is nothing to worry about and that school is really a lot of fun.

Caramel reviews A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems

After reviewing three books from the Elephant and Piggie Like Reading series (see his reviews of The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat, The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham, and Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat), Caramel is now rereading some of his old favorites from the original Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Wilems. Below he shares his thoughts on A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions, though this time Caramel himself also tried typing some of the words.

Caramel reviews A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems.
Caramel reviews A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems.

Sprinkles: So what do you want to tell us about this book Caramel?

Caramel: boing! Boing boing boing boing boing!  I love this book! boing!                           

S: So what is that supposed to mean?

C: it is one of the best books that I have ever read! It is a very good book! I love it! And the boinging is about a bouncy ball.

S: Yes, the book has a ball in the center of the story, right? Tell us about the story. What is happening in the book?

C : There is a big guy that takes Piggie’s ball! Piggie is very sad. So Gerald the Elephant goes to the big guy to try and take the ball back.

S : Why can’t Piggie take it back herself?

C : The guy is too big, she’s scared. It’s a humpback whale! They are huge!

S : Yes, apparently they can grow up to 25 to 30 tonnes. That is a huge weight Caramel. And it is about the size of ten mid-sized elephants. So the big guy is probably too big for Gerald as well, right?

Caramel is reading the page where Gerald is telling Piggie that the big guy is really big.
Caramel is reading the page where Gerald is telling Piggie that the big guy is really big.

C: Yes. But in the end everything works out, and all three of them play together. They play a game called whale ball. But I don’t get it.

S: What do you not get Caramel?

C: How is the whale not in the ocean? And where is the water coming from that it spouts from its blow hole?

S: Hmm, those are good questions Caramel, but maybe just like an elephant and a pig are quite unlikely to be friends, the whale joining them is also quite unlikely, but it can happen in fiction. Isn’t that what fiction is about? A lot of times things that don’t always make sense or cannot really happen do happen in stories.

C: I don’t always like that though. I like real things.

S: Yes, of course I know that Caramel. But there are many fiction books you also enjoy reading, right? I think you have enjoyed reading all the Elephant and Piggie books many many times.

C: Yes! I also love the Narwhal and Jelly books!

S: Yes, and you reviewed all four of them:  Narwhal: The Unicorn of the Sea!Super Narwhal and Jelly JoltPeanut Butter and Jelly, and Narwhal’s Otter Friend, all by Ben Clanton. It is a good thing to read a balance of fiction and non-fiction. I think you are doing great!

C: Yes! I like reading. And I will keep reading. And reviewing books!

Caramel loves reading and rereading A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems.
Caramel loves reading and rereading A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems.