Caramel reviews Cars on Mars by Alexandra Siy

Readers of the book bunnies blog know that Caramel loves nonfiction books where he can learn about real things. See for example his review of a book on samurai, another on knights and castles, another on elements and the periodic table, yet another on dinosaurs, and finally another on engineering. Today Caramel shares his thoughts on a neat book by Alexandra Siy: Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet. As always, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet by Alexandra Siy.
Caramel reviews Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet by Alexandra Siy.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, tell us about this book.

Caramel: It’s about rovers.

S: What is a rover?

C: They are vehicles that go on Mars or other planets. When humans can’t go there themselves, they send the rovers to the planet to explore. They rove it.

S: Hmm, the dictionary definition of roving is “travel constantly without a fixed destination; wander”. So I guess these vehicles go around a planet just exploring and recording and measuring and so on, right?

C: Yep, basically.

Caramel is reading Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet by Alexandra Siy.
Caramel is reading Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet by Alexandra Siy.

S: So this book is about the rovers on Mars. Why is that important?

C: Because we want to know what is on Mars. It apparently has tons of iron.

S: Is that why it is called the red planet?

C: Yes. Iron is red.

S: Apparently Romans called it Mars because red reminded them of blood and war and Mars was their god of war. And Greeks called it Ares because Ares was their god of war. But today we are still very interested in Mars. Why do you think this is so?

C: It’s a planet that is kind of like earth in many ways and it is one of the closest. And maybe we can use the iron in there.

S: There is a lot of iron on earth too, so we do not really need to go to Mars for it, but it is of course interesting to learn about other planets, especially one so close to ours! and for many years people thought there were other living things on Mars. Have you heard of Orson Welles and his radio play about the Martian Invasion?

C: No I did not know about that! It sounds very interesting. Can we listen to it?

S: Yes, after we are done with this post, we will definitely listen to this recording. So let us get back to our book. What else would you like to tell us about it?

C: The book has many pictures of Mars and the rovers. There is Spirit and then there is Opportunity. And the book ends with this:

Although they found proof of past water on Mars (mission accomplished!), Spirit and Opportunity keep on keepin’ on. Noone knows when or where they will finally stop. But Steve and everyone else who is part of this far-out road trip hope that some day there will be tire tracks and footprints, side by side, on Mars.

S: That ends on a really positive note. But we now know that Spirit did not go on for too much longer and stopped communicating in 2010. Opportunity did go on for a lot longer, till 2018. So this book is a snapshot of the life stories of these two rovers.

C: Right. And you can learn a lot about Mars and space travel and making vehicles that can go around on other planets when you read it.

S: That sounds like a good read to me. And you can check out this NASA page to learn more about the newer rovers and more generally about NASA’s Mars program. What do you want to say last?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel enjoyed reading Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet by Alexandra Siy with a Martian friend. Can you see this little alien?
Caramel enjoyed reading Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet by Alexandra Siy with a Martian friend. Can you see this little alien?

Marshmallow reviews The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

Marshmallow has recently finished reading The Confidence Code for Girls, by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Soon after, Sprinkles read The Confidence Code by the same authors. Below Marshmallow shares her thoughts on the former, while Sprinkles asks questions, takes notes, and occasionally adds some thoughts inspired by her reading of the latter.

This is our last review for 2019 and for a few weeks after. The book bunnies wish everyone a happy new year. We will be back with more reviews in February 2020.

Marshmallow reviews The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.
Marshmallow reviews The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.

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

Marshmallow: This is a good book that inspires girls to be confident about themselves. 

S: How does it do that?

M: It inspires girls to be confident by making an easy “Confidence Code”, a three-step code that is the key to believing in yourself. 

S: So, what are the three steps? 

M: You need to read the book!

S: Well, I read the adult version. As far as I recall, the three main recommendations are: Think less, act more, and make mistakes. 

M: You can’t give away everything!

S: I’m not really giving everything away though. Everyone says you need to make mistakes. Everyone says you should not worry too much about what others think. But I thought this book explained really clearly why these are all very good advice. But also, the book doesn’t really feel like an advice book, right? 

M: No, it doesn’t. It has quizzes and stories and comic strips.

S: That is the one for girls. The grownup one doesn’t have the quizzes and the comics, but actually it too has a lot of stories. Some of them are about the two authors themselves as they try to figure out the confidence code.

Marshmallow is reading The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.
Marshmallow is reading The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.

S: Oh wait, I think I actually misspoke. In the notes for the grownup book, there are a few quizzes for readers if they want to figure out where they rank in terms of a few characteristics. Did you do any of the quizzes?

M: Yes, I did some of them. One of them was about how addicted you are to your phone if you have one. And when you took the test, it said you were addicted. 

S: Yes, but not extremely. Still it is true that I do check my phone a bit too obsessively. Ok, tell us about the stories. 

M: Some of the stories are true stories about girls who see a problem in the world and work to fix it. Others are fictional. Some are scenarios that ask the reader to make decisions in difficult situations. For example, say your friend is bragging that they won a competition in technology and it is getting on your nerves. They start to hang out with other kids who are into tech, and they ignore you. What do you do?

S: So, what would you do?

M: There were multiple choices. Like confront your friend, or act like nothing has changed. 

S: So, what would you do?

M: Out of the given options, I’d choose to confront my friend. 

Both Marshmallow and Sprinkles enjoyed reading their respective books on the Confidence Code, written by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, and learned a lot.
Both Marshmallow and Sprinkles enjoyed reading their respective books on the Confidence Code, written by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, and learned a lot.

S: So how is this related to confidence? 

M: The right answer is almost always to be comfortable with who you are and do something about a problem, rather than ignore it or keep worrying about it without doing anything. 

S: Yes, I remember the “no ruminating” rule from the adult book! I even have adopted “noru” as a codeword to remind myself to stop ruminating. So, would you recommend this book to your friends? And other young bunnies like yourself?

M: Yes, especially for girl bunnies ten years and older. This is not really a book for boys. 

S: Well, the adult book is also directed toward women. This makes sense. Ok, let us wrap this review up with your rating. 

M: I rate this book 100%.

Marshmallow rates The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Confidence Code for Girls by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman 100%.

Caramel reviews And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

Today Caramel picked a sweet real-life story of two chinstrap penguins revolving around themes of family and love to share with the Book Bunnies Blog readers. Below he discusses And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions, as always.

Caramel reviews And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole.
Caramel reviews And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole.

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

Caramel: It’s a good book. A really good book. It’s about two penguins who are both boys, and they have a baby together.

S: How does that happen?

C: The zoo keeper gives them an egg. He puts it into their nest. Then they put it in the middle. Every day they turn it, so then all sides get warm. They take turns sitting on the egg.

S: Then what happens?

C: The egg hatches. It then grows strong enough to leave the nest. Then they take their baby to the water to swim.

S: And the zoo guests cheer them on, right?

C: Yes!

Caramel is looking at the page of And Tango Makes Three, where all penguins are playing together and the zoo guests are cheering them on.
Caramel is looking at the page of And Tango Makes Three, where all penguins are playing together and the zoo guests are cheering them on.

S: We have seen penguins at zoos, right?

C: I think so. I think at least once.

S: They are fun to watch. They waddle and dive into the water, and jump out.

C: Yes! They go “weeeeee!”

S: Did you know that this is based on a real story?

C: I didn’t know when I read the book. But then we read together the Wikipedia entry on the book and I learned.

S: Yes, apparently the story is based on two real penguins, named Roy and Silo, like in the book, and their adopted child, Tango.

C: Yes, and Tango makes three! Roy and Silo are two, and then plus Tango makes three.

S: That’s why they named the book that, right? Can you think of another name for the book?

C: No. I think the name of the book is just perfect.

S: I agree. What else do you want to tell us about the book?

C: If you like penguins, this is a really good book!

S: And we love penguins! We have reviewed several books about them before!

C: I didn’t know it was nonfiction before we read more about it on Wikipedia.

S: Does that change your opinion of the book?

C: It makes me like it more. I like real stuff. I also love real penguins!

S: Would you have liked to have received a penguin in the mail like Mr. Popper did in the book Marshmallow reviewed a few days ago?

C: If it listened to me, yes. And it shouldn’t smash me, they can be heavy you know.

S: Oh yes, apparently an emperor penguin can be as heavy as 99 pounds! But chinstrap penguins are much lighter. Wikipedia says they usually weigh around 7 to 10 pounds.

C: Ok, then I could like a chinstrap penguin. But I’d not want it to peck me.

S: Yes, that could possibly hurt. But they are so cute, aren’t they?

C: They’re adorable, especially when they are babies. Grownups are still adorable too.

S: I am thinking it is time for us to wrap up our review Caramel. Will you say your last words as usual?

C: Of course! Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel has enjoyed reading And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole.
Caramel has enjoyed reading And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, and illustrated by Henry Cole.

Caramel reviews The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray

Caramel often enjoys reading big encyclopedic books on various scientific and technological topics. See for example his review of a big book on engineering, and another big book on dinosaurs. Today he is talking about his recent favorite: The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray.
Caramel reviews The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray.

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

Caramel: I like it because I like elements.

S: What are elements?

C: Elements are like atoms. Hydrogen, oxygen, uranium, tin are all elements.

S: Yes, those are some good examples of elements. Elements are the building blocks of all matter. Why don’t we read from the beginning of the book?

“THE PERIODIC TABLE is the universal catalog of everything you can drop on your foot. There are some things such as light, love, logic and time that are not in the periodic table, but you cannot drop any of those on your foot. The earth, this book, your foot–everything tangible–is made of elements. Your foot is made mostly of oxygen with quite a bit of carbon joining it, giving structure to the organic molecules that define you as an example of carbon-based life. (And if you’re not a carbon-based life form: welcome to our planet! If you have a foot, please don’t drop this book on it.)”

S: So the book starts with an introduction to the periodic table.

C: Yes, in the beginning of the book, there are seven pages of information about the periodic table. In the next two pages, they talk about s-orbitals, p-orbitals, d-orbitals, and f-orbitals.

S: What are those?

C: The shape of the shells that electron clouds make around the center of the atom. The seed of the atom!

S: Yes, it is called the nucleus in English, but it is in the middle, like a central seed, like a peach would have.

C: Or a cherry! A watermelon would not work though, because watermelons have many seeds. But I like watermelons!

S: I know! But let us get back to the book. After these few pages of introduction material on chemistry, the rest of the book is …

C: about each element! Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, Neon.

S: Yes those are the first ten elements.

C: So each element has two pages, all the way up to Einsteinium and Fermium, which have numbers 99 and 100.

S: Yes, those are the atomic numbers. They count how many protons the element has in each of its atoms. So yes, each of the first hundred elements gets its own two-page spread.

C: Wait! No! Aluminum (13) and Titanium (22) get four pages! Iron (26) gets four pages too! Copper (29), Tungsten (74), Gold (79), Lead (82), Uranium (92) all have four pages to themselves. They’re greedy!

S: I guess so. But they are also important elements. Or at least the author thinks they are. Or maybe he just likes them… So what is your favorite element Caramel?

C: I have two. Titanium (22) and Uranium (92).

Caramel is reading about Titanium, one of his favorite elements, in  The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray.
Caramel is reading about Titanium, one of his favorite elements, in The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray.

S: So what did you learn about Titanium from this book?

C: Titanium is strong but light. You can make golf clubs, and artificial hip joints from Titanium. You can use it on razor blades. You can also use it in dental implants. Then you have a titanium tooth!

S: I might! You’re right! Maybe we can stop here, before we give away more private health information, no?

C: Yeah, I guess so. So here are my last words for this review: Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel is still enjoying reading about elements and looking at the beautiful pictures in The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray.
Caramel is still enjoying reading about elements and looking at the beautiful pictures in The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray.