Caramel reviews 5000 Awesome Facts (About Animals) by National Geographic Kids

Caramel loves facts about robots, space ships, and science. He also loves facts about animals. Today he reviews a beautiful book published by National Geographic Kids: 5000 Awesome Facts (About Animals). As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews 5000 Awesome Facts (About Animals) by National Geographic Kids.
Caramel reviews 5000 Awesome Facts (About Animals) by National Geographic Kids.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, I see you are rereading 5000 Awesome Facts (About Animals).

Caramel: Yes. You know five thousand is a big number.

S: So are there really that many facts in the book?

C: Yes.

S: And have you really read them all already?

C: Yes.

S: So why are you rereading then?

C: Because I like rereading. These are all really cool facts.

S: Really? So tell me one from that page you are looking at now.

C: This page is called “75 Facts about Coral Reef Animals”. And here is a neat fact: Sea horses don’t have stomachs! It’s so weird!

S: How do they eat then?

C: I don’t know. The book doesn’t tell.

S: Well, let’s see. This National Geographic for Kids website says “Seahorses use their tube-shaped snouts like powerful vacuums to scoop up hundreds of tiny meals in a single day. These fish don’t have true stomachs, just a digestive tube, so they need to eat all day to get their nutrients.”

C: Oh, that explains it, very interesting!

S: So I guess the book tells you neat tidbits, but you might need to look elsewhere for more explanations.

C: Yes, but these are really cool tidbits. Here is another one: some moray eels have two sets of jaws. The second one is hidden inside their throats.

S: That is weird!

C: Yes. It’s kind of like they have a second mouth in their throats.

S: So it seems like the facts are organized into groups. And each two-page spread is about a particular group of animals. Right?

C: More or less. But the groups are not always types of animals. Sometimes it is about where they live, like those 75 facts about coral reef animals. And then there are 35 facts about gorillas, and you took my photo when I was looking at that page.

S: Yes, let me post that photo right here:

Caramel is reading 5000 Awesome Facts (About Animals) by National Geographic Kids.
Caramel is reading 5000 Awesome Facts (About Animals) by National Geographic Kids.

C: There are fact collections about animals living in the Himalayas, about dogs, about animals in books and movies. And so on. It is all pretty awesome!

S: I guess the title makes sense then.

C: Yes.

S: Did you see on the back cover that there are a couple other volumes in this same series called 5000 Awesome Facts?

C: Yes, there is a book called 5000 Awesome Facts About Everything, another called 5000 Awesome Facts About Everything 2, and there is a third one: 5000 Awesome Facts About Everything 3.

S: Those sound neat too. But I know you really like animals and books about animal facts.

C: Yep. And I already reviewed many such books. Maybe you can put a link to some of them?

S: Sure. Here are some: The Magnificent Book of Animals by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson, The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures by Val Walerczuk and Tom Jackson, Pangolins by Lisa FantonSea Bunnies by Kelly Hargrave, Glow Animals by K.C. Kelley. And then there are a couple books you reviewed about dinosaurs. But then you already know quite a lot about animals. I’m surprised you found new things in this book.

C: Yes. Actually almost all of them were things I did not know.

S: That makes sense Caramel. You know a lot, but the world is so much bigger, so there is always more to learn.

C: Yep.

S: So how would you describe this book in three words?

C: Colorful, factful, animalful.

S: Hmm, not sure that last one is a real word, but I’ll let it be. What do you want to tell our readers as we wrap this review up?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel loves reading 5000 Awesome Facts (About Animals) by National Geographic Kids and will continue to enjoy this beautiful book for many years to come.
Caramel loves reading 5000 Awesome Facts (About Animals) by National Geographic Kids and will continue to enjoy this beautiful book for many years to come.

Marshmallow reviews Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

Marshmallow enjoys reading fiction and most often reviews works of fiction for our blog. But this week she decided to write about Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities, first written in 2004 and then republished with a new foreword and an afterword in 2016.

Marshmallow reviews Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit.
Marshmallow reviews Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like nonfiction books that discuss current events, or if you are worried about the future because of said current events, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Rebecca Solnit goes over several depressing events of the recent years with a new perspective. She defines hope, not as optimism, but as the acknowledgment of possibilities for a better world. The author carefully analyzes the past and the present to demonstrate how hope is intertwined with action. Her rousing book encourages readers to keep sight of a brighter future, within reason. Diverging from the common conceptions of hope, this book presents a stronger, newer perspective:

Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.

Simply put, hope is not naive optimism but rather the ability to see the possibilities in the uncertainties that surround us and the capacity to act accordingly. 

Citing recent events, famous people, and writers of old, Rebecca Solnit builds her case as to why hope is so relevant and important to our modern world. In each of her twenty-one short chapters, she focuses on a different aspect of hope and how we should nurture it. In the end, she builds a solid argument for why there is always hope, even in the darkest times.

Marshmallow is reading Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit.
Marshmallow is reading Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit.

Marshmallow’s Review: In these deeply troubled times, hope is difficult to find. This book is refreshing to read as it does not offer any easy solutions or fake comfort; rather it states clearly that things are not going to work out the way we want them to unless we start making changes. With clear evidence and reasoning, the author proves with finality that we are not inevitably doomed (the key word being “inevitably”).  

This is a book that we should all read, though it might be a little advanced or confusing for younger bunnies. The clarity with which the author presents her position helps the reader engage effectively with her ideas. The flow of thought is easy to follow, and the chapters all have several ideas and concrete examples relevant to the main topic (hope).

Originally, I read this book for a project concerning hope. This book not only proved itself to be an invaluable resource for evidence, quotes, and ideas for my project, but also was a source of inspiration more broadly for life in a dark world. I found it wise that the author, Rebecca Solnit, never says it will get better. This specifically, I felt, was not just a sound decision, but also a main theme throughout the course of the book. If anything, I found this book to be a call to action— what this action must be, however, is more difficult to perceive. Yet, this book was extremely helpful to read, as it served as a reminder that we have the potential and opportunity to improve our world. 

In this short book review, I hope I have done more than just inform you about a book I have read. I hope that I have also pointed you towards a refreshing idea, a new perspective, that I think can be both informative and beneficial for everyone.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 99%

Marshmallow rates Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit 99%.
Marshmallow rates Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit 99%.

Caramel reviews Glow Animals by K.C. Kelley

A few weeks ago, Caramel visited the book fair held in his school campus and picked a handful of nonfiction books for himself. A couple weeks ago, he reviewed two of them: Sea Bunnies by Kelly Hargrave and Hot Lava! Fiery Facts About Volcanoes by Alice Fewery. Today he talks about the third book he got from the book fair: Glow Animals by K.C. Kelley. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Glow Animals by K.C. Kelley.
Caramel reviews Glow Animals by K.C. Kelley.

Sprinkles: Okay, Caramel. This is the third book from the book fair. Are you still happy you managed to get your paws in this one?

Caramel: Yes.

S: So tell us a bit about this book.

C: This book is about all sorts of animals that glow.

S: What does that mean?

C: It’s called bioluminescence.

S: That’s a big word for a little bunny.

C: Yep. I have all the words!

S: Okay, so tell me what bioluminescence means.

C: It’s animals and other living beings creating light somehow.

S: That is pretty fascinating stuff.

C: It is.

S: So what kinds of animals do we meet in this book?

C: For one, my new amazing squishy friend Jellyfish. He is bioluminescent. Like about 50% of all jellyfish. I learned that from this website of a lab at the University of California San Diego.

S: That’s interesting! Do you know how jellyfish make their light?

C: Bioluminescence.

S: I get that, but what is the mechanism?

C: There is a segment in their body that holds a bunch of chemicals and the jellyfish mixes them to make light. Well, actually I am making that up because the book does not really talk about how they make their light.

S: Okay, I thought your explanation was plausible, you could have fooled me. But so the book did not tell you about the mechanism of how a jellyfish can make light? I’m thinking they should have!

C: Well, they do explain things more generally. Most animals which glow have some chemical, luciferin, in a part of their body, and when they mix it with oxygen, it glows.

S: Hmm, I did not know that! And I did not know what luciferin was till now. So Wikipedia tells me that “luciferin (from the Latin lucifer, “light-bearer”) is a generic term for the light-emitting compound found in organisms that generate bioluminescence”. So some mechanisms are explained then.

C: Yes.

S: And fireflies and jellyfish are pretty different animals! What other animals do we meet in this book?

C: Lantern fish, click beetle, dragon fish, lantern shark. Which is different from the lantern fish.

S: Hmm, I did not know there were sharks that could make light!

C: Yes, there are!

S: Apparently they are rather small. At most three feet or so.

C: Well, for a bunny, that is not really small. I’d not want to meet one if I could help it.

S: I understand Caramel.

C: At least the dwarf lantern shark is really small. It is about four inches. Now I would not mind meeting one of those.

S: Makes sense to me.

Caramel and his new squishy friend Jellyfish are reading Glow Animals by K.C. Kelley.
Caramel and his new squishy friend Jellyfish are reading Glow Animals by K.C. Kelley.

S: What else is in the book?

C: There are more animals with bioluminescence. And then there are other animals which don’t make their own light, but their skin or fur reacts to UV light. That is called fluorescence.

S: Oh that’s cool too. What are some examples of fluorescent animals?

C: Glowing sea slug and pyrosome.

S: Hmm, I know about sea slugs because you told me all about them when you were reviewing that book Sea Bunnies, but what are pyrosome?

C: According to the book, they are actually colonies of tiny animals called zooids, and they look like purple fuzzy cucumbers.

S: Wikipedia says they are also called sea pickles. That’s interesting too, Caramel. I learned a lot today. So did you like this book then? It seems to have a lot of facts.

C: Yes. And it has lots of colorful pictures of weird animals. So I like the book. And my new friend Jellyfish, of course.

S: Of course. So how about describing the book to me in three words?

C: Colorful weird animal facts. Well, that’s four words.

S: It will do, Caramel. Let us wrap this up then. What do you want to tell our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel loved reading Glow Animals by K.C. Kelley and playing with his new squishy friend Jellyfish (who eventually went back to his little room to rest). He expects he will look over these pages many times in the coming weeks and months.
Caramel loved reading Glow Animals by K.C. Kelley and playing with his new squishy friend Jellyfish (who eventually went back to his little room to rest). He expects he will look over these pages many times in the coming weeks and months.

Caramel reviews Hot Lava! Fiery Facts About Volcanoes by Alice Fewery

A couple of weeks ago, Caramel visited the book fair held in his school campus and picked a handful of nonfiction books for himself. Last week he reviewed one of them: Sea Bunnies by Kelly Hargrave. Today he talks about a second book: Hot Lava! Fiery Facts About Volcanoes, written by Alice Fewery and published in 2021. As usual, Sprinkles is asking questions and taking notes.

Caramel reviews Hot Lava! Fiery Facts About Volcanoes by Alice Fewery.
Caramel reviews Hot Lava! Fiery Facts About Volcanoes by Alice Fewery.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, this was the second book you got from the school book fair. Tell us about it. Why did you want to read it?

Caramel: Because I wanted to know more about volcanoes! And of course, the slime!! It comes with slime!

S: I can see that the book combined two things you like: slime and facts!

C: Exactly. I like books full of facts, and this book is full of facts. And I like playing with slime, and this book came with metallic slime.

S: What’s metallic slime?

C: It’s just regular slime but its color is metallic.

S: Hmm, I see. Did you know that you could make magnetic slime?

C: Not until you showed me that page you found. Can we link to it so we can make some of our own some time? We have to!

S: Okay, maybe we can. Here is the link: How to make magnetic slime.

C: Cool.

S: Okay, can we get back to the book now?

C: No. Of course, I’m kidding! Yes let us talk about the book.

S: You got me there. Okay, now tell me about the book.

C: It is forty pages full of “fiery” facts about volcanoes. For example, did you k know that when a volcano in the Krakatoa island blew up in 1883, it changed the climate of the whole world? The temperatures fell by 0.72 degrees Fahrenheit all around!

S: No, I had heard of the Krakatoa explosion, but I did not know that its climate effects were so significant. So the book talks about famous volcanic explosions, right?

C: Yes. It has two-page spreads on three other “famous eruptions”: Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii, Italy, which blew up in 79 CE, Mount St. Helens in Washington, USA, which blew up in 1980, and Mount Pelée in Martinique, which blew up in 1902.

S: Did you know about these disasters before, Caramel?

C: I had heard about Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius. And I am not sure but I think I might have heard about that one person who survived because he was in a windowless jail cell during the explosion of Mount Pelée. But I did not know about the others.

S: So you learned some things from this book.

C: Yes of course. I also learned a lot about the mechanism of volcanoes and a lot of new words about them. For example, apparently magma is called “magma” under the crust, but when it gets out we call it “lava”. So I knew both were molten rock, but I did not know they were exactly the same thing, just one is inside and one is outside.

Caramel is reading Hot Lava! Fiery Facts About Volcanoes by Alice Fewery, accompanied by the metallic slime that came along with the book.
Caramel is reading Hot Lava! Fiery Facts About Volcanoes by Alice Fewery, accompanied by the metallic slime that came along with the book.

S: So the book was “factful”, right?

C: Yes, that would definitely be one of my three words.

S: What other words would you use?

C: Colorful, and maybe slimy. But not in a bad way; I call the book slimy because it comes with slime. Really nice metallic orange color.

S: I understand. So tell me what other facts there are in the book before we wrap up this review and you go back to playing with that cool slime.

C: Okay. Maybe I can read to you some of the section titles.

S: Sure.

C: I’ll skip the famous eruptions because I already listed them. Then there are sections titled “What is a volcano?”, “Volcano varieties”, “Why do volcanoes erupt?”, “Life cycle of a volcano”, “Liquid rock”, “Hot water”, “Ash and dust”, “Gas and lightning”, “Weather warning”, “Supervolcanoes”, “Volcanoes in space”, “Living on a volcano”, “Visit a volcano”, “Make your own volcano”. And there is the glossary and an index.

S: Some of those sound really interesting! I’d love to know more about volcanoes in space and making your own volcano.

C: We can try making one at home some day, maybe?

S: Maybe.

C: And space volcanoes are really neat too. You should read this book Sprinkles.

S: Maybe I will.

C: But I’m not sharing my slime!

S: Hmm, we’ll see about that. Okay, let us wrap this up. What do you want to tell our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading Hot Lava! Fiery Facts About Volcanoes by Alice Fewery, and playing with the metallic slime that came along with the book, though it did get into his fur a little.
Caramel enjoyed reading Hot Lava! Fiery Facts About Volcanoes by Alice Fewery, and playing with the metallic slime that came along with the book, though it did get into his fur a little.