Caramel reviews The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson

A few weeks ago Caramel reviewed a beautiful nonfiction book titled The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson. Today he decided to talk about a similar book: The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures, once again illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson.
Caramel reviews The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson.

Sprinkles: I have been seeing you read and reread this book for the last few weeks. What is it about?

Caramel: It’s about ocean animals. Well, there is also corals…

S: Are corals animals?

C: They’re made of polyps which are little animals. Tiny, probably microscopic.

S: Hmm, let’s see. Wikipedia tells us that corals are made up of polyps as you said. And polyps are tiny invertebrates but nowhere do I see how big they are. So I guess I will take your word for it for now…

C: Oh, wait, I want to tell you this fact: Polyps are relatives of jellyfish! Did you know that?

S: No!

C: And they have “tentacles for sifting food from water”.

S: That is interesting Caramel! I can see why you find this book fascinating! It is full of interesting facts.

C: Yep. Let me tell you a few facts about my favorite ocean creature in this book.

S: Oh, I am curious. What is it about?

C: Here, I found it: Flying fish!

Flying fish do not actually fly. They leap out of the water at high speeds and then glide on their winglike fins. The fish glide to escape larger predators that are attacking them underwater.

Caramel is reading his favorite pages (about flying fish) in The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson.
Caramel is reading his favorite pages (about flying fish) in The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson.

S: This is all very interesting!

C: There’s more!

S: But we should talk more about the book more generally. So tell me more about the book. What creatures are described in it?

C: I’ll tell you all of the animals in this book.

S: So you’ll read me the table of contents basically?

C: Yes.

S: That’s alright. Go ahead.

C: Sea otter, walrus, hooded seal, blue whale, humpback whale, narwhal, orca (killer whale), bottlenose dolphin, manatee, yellowfin tuna, marine iguana, whale shark, great white shark, ocean sunfish, manta ray, oarfish, humpback anglerfish, sea horse, queen parrotfish, clownfish, green sea turtle, lionfish, sailfish, flying fish, tufted puffin, emperor penguin, pelican, giant clam, lobster, giant Pacific octopus, giant squid, insulamon freshwater crab, sea slug, sea star, lion’s mane jellyfish, and coral.

S: Wow! That is a lot of creatures. And just like in the other Magnificient Book you reviewed, each of these animals gets two pages to itself, right?

C: Yes. And they also have amazing drawings! They are actually hand-drawn! It’s amazing!

S: I know! Some people are really good at drawing and illustrating, right?

C: They’re so good! They’re out of this world! At first I actually thought they were photos, but no, they are hand-drawn.

S: Yes, I am sure the illustrator worked really hard on them. And she must have worked really hard to get this good!

C: This reminds me of a quote, I do not know who it is from: “We do not do it because it is easy. We do it because it is hard.”

S: Oh, that is President John F. Kennedy’s speech about going to the moon. Here is the full transcript. The part you are remembering is:

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. 

Isn’t it an inspiring speech? And you are right in remembering it just now. Good illustrators work hard at their craft, and even if they probably find drawing easier than you and me, drawing that well needs a lot of hard work.

C: I guess all that hard work be tiring.

S: Probably. But in the end they have a truly magnificent book!

C: Yes!

S: Okay, Caramel. Let us wrap this up. Do you want to rate it again, by finding three words to describe this book?

C: Yes. Here they are: Awesome, amazing, beautiful.

S: Well, these basically say the same thing, but I know what you mean. The book is beautiful. Alright, here are my three words: “colorful”, “big”, because it is a pretty big book, and “interesting”, because there are a lot of interesting facts in this book that I did not know about.

C: I agree!

S: Ok, and now you tell everyone:

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson, and is looking forward to many more reads where he will study once again the many amazing creatures of the world's oceans.
Caramel enjoyed reading The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson, and is looking forward to many more reads where he will study once again the many amazing creatures of the world’s oceans.

Caramel reviews The Magnificent Book of Animals by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson

Today, as he has done many times before, Caramel wanted to talk about a book about facts, and chose a recent favorite: The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.
Caramel reviews The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.

Sprinkles: Okay Caramel, let us start talking about this book. What do you want to tell us about it?

Caramel: This is one big book for a little bunny like me.

S: That is true! Here is a picture of you standing next to the book so readers can see how big it is!

Caramel is showing us how big The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson, is.
Caramel is showing us how big The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson, is.

C: Yes, see how small I am next to the book!

S: Yes, I can see that. But I know you like this book; you have been almost inseparable from it for a while now.

C: Yes, I like looking at the book, and the pictures, and reading all the facts about all the animals.

S: So what animals are there in this book?

C: I’m going to tell you all of them. African elephant, red giant panda, reindeer, gray wolf, mandrill, flying fox, snow leopard, Przewalski’s horse, red kangaroo, lion ,polar bear, dromedary, orangutan, okapi, grizzly bear, chimpanzee, arctic fox, tapir, tiger, warthog, beaver, giraffe, koala, zebra, sloth, bison, hippopotamus, gorilla, white rhinoceros, wolverine, ring-tailed lemur, ibex, leopard, duck-billed platypus, striped hyena and bush baby.

S: That is a lot of animals. I don’t think I know all these animals. For example, I had never heard of a mandrill before…

C: It’s a type of monkey.

S: I also did not know about ibex, dromedary, and okapi. I also did not know about Przewalski’s horse.

C: The Przewalski’s horse is a type of horse. It’s the oldest breed. And the okapi is a big animal that lives in Central Africa. It has a long tongue, so long that it can lick its own eyes and ears. Kind of disgusting really!

S: Well, staying clean is important. So what about the dromedary and the ibex?

C: The dromedaries are some type of camel. And the ibex is a goat-like animal that lives on mountains. But the arctic fox is one of my favorites. Here is me looking at the page for the arctic fox.

Caramel is checking out the arctic fox in The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.
Caramel is checking out the arctic fox in The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.

S: Hmm, I’m not sure a bunny would be too safe near a fox.

C: I think you might be right. I also like the African elephant. Here is me looking at the page for the African elephant.

Caramel is reading more about the African elephant in The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.
Caramel is reading more about the African elephant in The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.

S: So each of the animals has a two-page spread where there is a really realistic drawing of the animal and a few interesting facts about it.

C: I don’t know how the person drew the pictures! It seems impossible.

S: What do you mean?

C: They’re so incredibly realistic! The eyes seem to be actually reflecting light, and they are looking at me when I am looking at them!

S: Yes, you are right Caramel, I agree the pictures really make this book magnificent. And the facts are all quite interesting, right?

C: Yes. For example I learned from this book that the arctic fox’s coat changes color between white and grayish brown so it can blend in its environment.

S: That is neat! And I can now see why you have not gotten bored of this book yet, even though you have been reading it over and over again so many times.

C: Yes, and I want to read it ten hundred thousand more times. So let’s end this review.

S: Okay. So what do we say?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoys reading and looking at the truly magnificent illustrations in The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.
Caramel enjoys reading and looking at the truly magnificent illustrations in The Magnificent Book of Animals, illustrated by Val Walerczuk and written by Tom Jackson.

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%.