Marshmallow reviews Make Your Own Optical Illusions by Clive Gifford and Rob Ives

This week Marshmallow reviews a neat activity book written by Clive Gifford (text) and Rob Ives (paper engineering): Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do.

Marshmallow reviews Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do by Clive Gifford and Rob Ives.
Marshmallow reviews Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do by Clive Gifford and Rob Ives.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books that are about optical illusions and how they work, then this might be the book for you.  

Marshmallow’s Overview: This book is about optical illusions and what makes them so convincing that they fool your brain and eyes in to thinking that something looks different than it actually is.

There is a large variety of optical illusions in the book. At the beginning we learn about literal illusions, cognitive illusions, and physiological illusions.

“Literal illusions simply use one type of object to trick your brain into thinking it is viewing a different object or scene. Cognitive illusions occur because of the way your brain judges and decides on the information sent to it by the eyes. Physiological illusions are designed to exploit the limits of your body and vision system.”

This page from Arizona State University, written by Abigail Howell, explains the difference between these three, in case you want to learn more. There are also neat examples of each in the book.

One of my favorite optical illusions in the book is a physiological illusion called Afterimages. This is where you stare at an image, for example a black light bulb, and then you look at a piece of paper that is white and then you see a glowing light bulb that looks like the light bulb you saw in the book but now the bulb you see is glowing! The reason that this happens is because, according to the book, your special light-detecting cells get tired after staring at an image for a long time, and they send a weak signal so that your brain reads it as the opposite color that the image actually is, thus making the light bulb look like it is glowing. 

Marshmallow is reading up on afterimages, a special kind of physiological illusion.
Marshmallow is reading up on afterimages, a special kind of physiological illusion.

The book has a total of 64 colorful pages of text and examples of illusions. Then there are twenty pages in the back that have cardboard cutouts. You can “press them out” and they come out easily, so you can build your own optical illusions, little hand-held thingies that you can use to fool or trick your brain and eyes into thinking in strange ways. Some of these hands-on projects are things that you spin and then you see a person running. Some of the papers that you can press out are one that are to help you see why one of the optical illusions work.

Marshmallow is proudly showing one of the optical illusion toys she made using the cutouts from Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do.
Marshmallow is proudly showing one of the optical illusion toys she made using the cutouts from Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a great book which contains many great optical illusions that will definitely fool you. Some are optical illusions that you can build, and some are ones that make your eyes see two images in one picture. The explanations given to explain what is happening in your brain when you get fooled are expertly written so that anyone can understand why you see something that is not on the page.

The authors, Rob Ives and Clive Gifford, have cooked up some great illusions that are really interesting. When these optical illusions are mixed together, they make a mind-boggling illusion book.

This is a hands-on book that includes projects that you can put together by yourself and then amaze your mind. I have only made some of the projects at this point and I am excited to make some more.

Overall Make Your Own Optical Illusions is a great book for all bunnies, especially those who like to play with their minds and hands (or paws?).      

Marshmallow’s rating: 95%

Marshmallow rates Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do by Clive Gifford and Rob Ives 95%.
Marshmallow rates Make Your Own Optical Illusions: 50 Hands-On Models and Experiment to Make and Do by Clive Gifford and Rob Ives 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Rabbits for Dummies by Audrey Pavia

Marshmallow has been thinking a lot about bunnies lately. So she borrowed a For Dummies book from the home library: Rabbits for Dummies by Audrey Pavia. Below she writes about her thoughts on this book, her first review of a non-fiction book.

Marshmallow reviews Rabbits for Dummies by Audrey Pavia.
Marshmallow reviews Rabbits for Dummies by Audrey Pavia.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about taking care of pets, or if you love rabbits (like I do!), then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary: This is a non-fiction book. It contains many facts about rabbits. It tells the reader how to litter box train a rabbit, how to clip the nails of a pet rabbit, and many more tidbits of information. It has a wide variety of facts. 

The book contains nineteen chapters. My favorites are Chapters 10 (Reading Your Rabbit) and 11 (Putting Boxing Gloves on Your Rabbit: Training). These chapters are about how to understand a rabbit’s behavior (Reading Your Rabbit) and how to train your rabbit (Putting Boxing Gloves on Your Rabbit

The nineteen chapters of the book are organized into five parts. My favorite part is Part 1 Bringing on the Bunny Basics. I like this part because it teaches you about the many different breeds of rabbits. 

In the introduction the author lists the people who could like this book:

This book is for you if you:

* Want a rabbit.

* Think rabbits are cool and want to know more about them.

* Have a rabbit and are considering getting another.

* Own a rabbit and are considering breeding or showing it.

* Have a rabbit (or two) and want to expand your knowledge on how to care for these pets.

Marshmallow’s Review: The book Rabbits for Dummies is about how to take care of rabbits. It is a very good book for rabbits (like me!) and rabbit lovers. Reading it can really help a person learn about rabbits. 

The book has pictures that help describe the book contents. Many are distributed in the text, but there is a small section in the middle of the book made up entirely of color photos, printed on higher quality paper.  

Marshmallow is pointing at a Holland lop rabbit, one of her favorites.
Marshmallow is pointing at a Holland lop rabbit, one of her favorites.

At the beginning of each part, there is a comic that is about the contents of that part. These are all pretty hilarious. I laughed out loud while reading some of them. 

At the beginning of each part is a single comic. Marshmallow's favorite is the one starting Part IV.
At the beginning of each part is a single comic. Marshmallow’s favorite is the one starting Part IV.

Overall this is a very good book that is educational, funny, well-written, and very entertaining. It is sure to help everyone that wants to have a pet bunny. However, be warned: it will certainly make you want a bunny even more than you did before. When she lent me the book, Sprinkles had thought that it would make me realize how much work taking care of a bunny would be, but it seems like this has backfired. I now want a bunny even more!

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%

Marshmallow rates Rabbits for Dummies by Audrey Pavia 100%.
Marshmallow rates Rabbits for Dummies by Audrey Pavia 100%.

Caramel reviews Samurai by Louie Stowell

Caramel loves reading books about real things. In previous weeks he reviewed Knights and Castles (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #2) by Will Osborne and Mary Pope Osborne and The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles by Chris McNab. This week he shares his thoughts on another nonfiction book: Samurai by Louie Stowell. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions as needed.

Caramel reviews Samurai by Louie Stowell.
Caramel reviews Samurai by Louie Stowell.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, what is this book about?

Caramel: It’s about samurai of course!

S: But what is a samurai?

C: Samurai were the noble horseback warriors of old Japan. They fought with swords named katana, and bows and arrows. They had a code of honor called bushido. That means that they followed certain rules. For example, if a samurai was losing in a battle, he would not be captured alive. He used one of his special swords to kill himself. This was called seppuku or hara-kiri.

S: That sounds rough. What else did you learn from this book?

C: Samurai thought the cherry blossom was an important symbol, because at the height of its beauty it would fall to the ground to die. Samurai also had to be willing to sacrifice themselves before they got old. They saw the cherry blossom as a proof that this was the natural way of things.

S: That is kind of romantic. And cherry blossoms are really pretty,. aren’t they?

C: Yes, they are! They are called sakura! They are a very pale pink and they are really beautiful!

S: Did you learn anything else?

C: Yes. Samurai wrote poems and read a lot. They also liked the arts. Most samurai were men, though women of samurai families also learned to fight and some even went to battle.

S: Why are you always speaking of them in the past tense Caramel? Are there no samurai left now?

C: Not exactly. In 1873 the emperor of Japan decided to replace the samurai with a modern army. Today there are no samurai left in Japan but only their descendants.

S: That is a big word Caramel! Do you know what it means?

C: It means relatives and people who came after.

S: Yes, that’s more or less it.

C: Samurai served clan lords, or a shogun, the military leader of Japan. The book tells stories of many wars of many samurai families. Many of them died.

S: So did you enjoy this book Caramel?

C: Yes. It was kind of violent though. Lots of people killing each other and themselves, and lots of death.

S: True. Hmm.. What else can we say about this book?

Caramel shows some of the pictures in Samurai by Louie Stowell.
Caramel shows some of the pictures in Samurai by Louie Stowell.

C: There are many pictures in the book. And this is a chapter book. It has seven chapters.

S: Do you have a favorite one?

C: Not really. But I have a least favorite one. The third chapter is called The Scarlet Sea. And it is about two clans of samurai fighting and the losing side dying. It is very sad.

S: Yes, that was a sad story, wasn’t it?

C: Yes.

S: Hmm.. let us end in a more upbeat tone. You also know how to make samurai helmets, right?

C: Yes! Just right for samurai bunnies! You can find some helpful directions here. And below is me wearing a samurai helmet I made!

Caramel is proudly wearing his samurai helmet.
Caramel is proudly wearing his samurai helmet.
Caramel really enjoyed learning about samurai!
Caramel really enjoyed learning about samurai!

Caramel reviews The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles by Chris McNab

Caramel loves to read books about real things. In his first review of a nonfiction book, he told us about Knights and Castles (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #2) by Will Osborne and Mary Pope Osborne. Here he shares his enthusiasm about another favorite: The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles by Chris McNab. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles by Chris McNab.
Caramel reviews The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles by Chris McNab.

Sprinkles: Caramel, you chose a big book for your review this time, right? This is a big format book, quite heavy, too, with 160 pages!

Caramel: Yes! This is a really big book. I have to put it on the ground to read it.

S: It has lots of colorful pictures, right?

C: Yes, including a pachycephalosaurus! Did you know that a pachycephalosaurus is a bonehead?

S: What’s a bonehead?

C: These are dinosaurs that use their heads to fight. They charge each other with their heads and then they bump, crash into each other. Pachycephalosaur means “thick-headed lizard” apparently.

S: That’s weird! What else is in the book?

C: On each page there are lots of dinosaurs and other reptiles. There are crocodiles and flying reptiles. Here is one of my favorites: terrestrisuchus. But I don’t really know how to pronounce it! Anyways the book tells us:

Terrestrisuchus was smaller than Gracilisuchus (about 10 inches tall). Its body was short but its tail was twice the length of its body and head put together. It had long legs and must have sprinted over the dry landscape, snapping up insects and small lizards in its long jaws. It probably ran mostly on four legs, but could have run even faster on just its back legs, using its tail for balance.

S: So dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles came in all sorts of sizes, right? Which of the bigger dinosaurs do you like most?

C: Other than pachycephalosaurus? Velociraptors! They ran fast! And they had feathers! But they couldn’t fly, so scientists think that they used their feathers to keep warm.

S: So there were flying dinosaurs too?

C: Pteranodon flew of course! But there were also other flying reptiles. Some lizards would glide!

Caramel enjoys reading about dinosaurs in The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles.
Caramel enjoys reading about dinosaurs in The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles.

S: Dinosaurs in this book seem to be all over the world, there were different types of dinosaurs in different places, and they also lived in different times, right?

C: Yes. Scientists think the earth is 4.5 billion years old. And the book starts at the beginning, with life in the seas, then moving on to land.

S: So the book is organized historically. There are about twelve pages about early life and then we begin learning about dinosaurs. Every now and then we look at different geographies. What happens in the end?

C: In the end the dinosaurs went extinct. But scientists don’t really know exactly why and how. It is kind of sad.

S: Yes, it is indeed sad Caramel, but if dinosaurs had not gone extinct, there might not be much room on this planet for us rabbits.

C: Good point! We might not have enough food to go all around for all of us. Still I like to learn about dinosaurs. They are very interesting!

S: Indeed!

Caramel loves reading and looking at the many many pictures in The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles.
Caramel loves reading and looking at the many many pictures in The Complete Guide to Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Reptiles.