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.

Caramel reviews Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat

Caramel has already reviewed The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat and  The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham, two of a new series titled Elephant and Piggie Like Reading. This week he shares his thoughts on a third book in this series, Harold and Hog :Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions when needed.

Caramel reviews Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat.
Caramel reviews Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat.

Sprinkles: Caramel, what did you think about this book?

Caramel: I thought it was awesome! There are two friends, an elephant and a pig, and they are trying to pretend to be Elephant and Piggie. You know who those are of course?

S: Yes, those are the main characters of Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series. And you love that series, don’t you?

C: Yes!

S: And it seems this new elephant, his name is Harold, and his friend Hog, also like our Elephant and Piggie. So they try to be like them.

C: Yes, they pretend to be like them. First Harold tries to be Gerald, That is Elephant’s name. And Hog tries to be Piggie.

S: And does it work?

C: No! They’re are not really very good at it. They are not exactly the same.

S: They have different personalities, right? Harold is not as careful as Gerald and Hog is not as carefree as Piggie. So…

C: So they decide that Harold is going to be Piggie and Hog is going to be Gerald!

S: That is a perfect solution, right? They can still pretend to be best friends!

C: And they ARE best friends!

Caramel is reading Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat.
Caramel is reading Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat.

C: And even a pigeon shows up!

S: The Pigeon?

C: No. A pigeon. They even ask him if he wants to drive the bus!

S: That is really funny. Does this story remind you of any other stories Caramel?

C: Yes! Remember the one where Elephant and Piggie are in a book?

S: Yes, Mo Willems’ We Are In A Book! There are many interesting meta questions that one can consider reading that book. So this one too raises many questions. In the end Elephant and Piggie look quite puzzled. Why do you think they look that way?

C: I don’t really know.

S: It seems that they are surprised to see two friends so much like themselves but also not like themselves. And these two friends know of them.

C: Like they must be famous or something.

S: Yes, kind of. And then in the end they decide to pretend to be Harold and Hog! Quite a neat full circle!

C: Yes! This is a fun book to read! I like reading it out loud on my own. But it is more fun to read with you. Shall we read it again together?

S: Yes. Let’s. This is a nice place to end our review, too.

C: Yes. Good bye! Stay tuned for more reviews from the Book Bunnies!

Caramel really enjoyed reading Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat.
Caramel really enjoyed reading Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat.

Caramel reviews The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham

Last week Caramel reviewed The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat, from Mo Willems’ series Elephant and Piggie Like Reading. Below he shares his thoughts on the second book he read from the series: The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham.
Caramel reviews The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham.

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

Caramel: It’s an awesome book! The book is about a group of dinosaurs who all have an itch to scratch, except one. But they can’t scratch their itches.

S: Why not?

C: There’s a sign that says “Dinosaurs do not scratch”.

S: And so they want to follow the rules and don’t scratch themselves, right?

C: Yes, until the end. But I won’t tell you what happens in the end. Can I instead tell you about which dinosaurs are in the book?

S: Yes Caramel. That would be neat.

C: There is a brontosaurus, a pterodactyl, a triceratops, a T-rex, and a pachycephalosaurus.

S: That is a lot of different dinosaur types. How come you know them all?

C: I like dinosaurs. And I know all about the first four. And one of my friends knows a lot about the pachycephalosaurus.

S: So which one is your favorite dinosaur then?

C: The pachycephalosaurus! It’s a plant eater. I also like triceratops and pterodactyls. I also like pteranodons, but there is no pteranodon in The Itchy Book.

S: That’s a good way to get back to the book we are talking about. So what else did you want to say about this book?

C: I loved the book! It is so funny! The twist in the end is cool and the characters themselves are all funny!

S: Ooo, so there’s a twist in the end, hmm?

C: Yup, but I won’t tell! Everybody should read it themselves!

S: I agree. Ok, so this was again an Elephant and Piggie Like Reading! book. Do they appear in the book again, like in The Cookie Fiasco?

C: Yes. They show up at the beginning of the story and also at the end. Like before. And Gerald gets very very itchy in the end.

S: Well, talking about itches and scratching itchy spots might make you itchy, no?

C: Yep, that’s exactly what happens to Gerald. But I didn’t feel itchy. I just felt like laughing.

S: That is good, isn’t it? This book reminded me of Shel Silverstein’s poem: The Unscratchable Itch. Do you know it?

C: Nope.

S: Ok, then we should read it together:

There is a spot that you can’t scratch
Right between your shoulder blades,
Like an egg that just won’t hatch
Here you set and there it stays.
Turn and squirm and try to reach it,
Twist your neck and bend your back,
Hear your elbows creak and crack,
Stretch your fingers, now you bet it’s
Going to reach — no that won’t get it–
Hold your breath and stretch and pray,
Only just an inch away,
Worse than a sunbeam you can’t catch
Is that one spot that
You can’t scratch.

Shel Silverstein, from A Light in the Attic, Harper & Row, 1981.

C: That is a funny poem!

S: It is, isn’t it? And a good place to end your review this time, right?

C: Yes, it’s just about time. Because now I’m itchy! Scratch scratch!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham.
Caramel enjoyed reading The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham.