Marshmallow reviews BrainJuice American History: Fresh Squeezed! by Carol Diggory Shields

Today Marshmallow shares some thoughts on a little book of history: BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson.

Marshmallow reviews BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson.
Marshmallow reviews BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you are looking for an amusing history book or like poetry, this might be the book for you.

Too many books? No time to read?
BrainJuice is just what you need.
We squeezed the facts, threw in some rhyme,
Twice the knowledge in half the time.

Whether slowly sipped or gulped with gusto,
BrainJuice
is:
Nutritionally Balanced!
Masterfully distilled!
Unconditionally guaranteed pure!
Totally concentrated;

And
100% refreshing!

This is the poem on the back of this BrainJuice book. BrainJuice American History Fresh Squeezed! explains history in short, memorable poems. It teaches the reader about American history since 245,000,000 BCE when the dinosaurs were around. This is the first poem in the book:

THE FIRST
The first Americans who roamed the prairie
Were kind of big and kind of scary
Some lived alone, some in a bunch,
A few of them ate the others for lunch.
Some were gentle, some were mean,
Some were spotted or dotted or green.
They hissed and growled and roared great roars—
The first Americans were dinosaurs.

The book contains a total of forty-one poems and ends with a moving poem about the Statue of Liberty, called The Lady.

Marshmallow is pointing at one of the poems in BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson. This is about Christopher Columbus and his arrival in the Americas.
Marshmallow is pointing at one of the poems in BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson. This is about Christopher Columbus and his arrival in the Americas.

Marshmallow’s review: Some people think that history is boring, but this book is proof that it is not. The poems are written in a style that will entertain and teach the reader about the American Revolution, the Presidents, and the “discovery” of the Americas. It is a great book for parents to get for their children / child if they want them to be interested in the fascinating history of America. But I think that this would be a good book for all ages. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is a great read for those who think that history is just memorizing dates and the events that happened on those dates. The poems are short so they are easy to memorize so soon you will know all of the main events that occurred in American history quickly and efficiently. Anyone who wants to learn about American history can get down some of the basic facts with this book.

Marshmallow is reading one of the poems in BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson. This is about the presidents.
Marshmallow is reading one of the poems in BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson. This is about the presidents.

The pictures in the book add a lot to the poems. I especially liked the pictures that had writing on them. Some of the pictures are funny and others are just more descriptive.

The pages of the book are split into two parts. There is a thin pink strip on the top of each page which is a timeline that starts in 245,000,000 BCE (when the dinosaurs are around) and ends on September 11, 2001 when “Over 3,000 are killed in terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.” The rest of the page typically contains a poem or a picture associated to the time period.

Another good thing about this fantastic book is that it explains well some very difficult events that might be challenging to explain to young children. It describes the Trail of Tears, for example, but it iis not all inclusive of course. For example it does not mention Japanese internment camps, which I read about in They Called Us Enemy.

Marshmallow’s rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson 95%.
Marshmallow rates BrainJuice: American History, Fresh Squeezed! written in poetic form by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Richard Thompson 95%.

Marshmallow reviews A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Reading The Unscratchable Itch in Caramel’s review of The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham from last week reminded Marshmallow of Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic. Below she reviews this old favorite.

Marshmallow reviews A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein.
Marshmallow reviews A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like poetry books, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Overview: This is a book of poems written for children by the author of the famous The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein. Silverstein also wrote another poetry book for children called Where The Sidewalk Ends. He also wrote The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, which Caramel wants to review some day. (Oh no, I told you what Caramel is going to review!)

Marshmallow’s Favorites: My personal favorites are Fancy Dive, Peckin’, Ladies First, and Almost Perfect. I even memorized Fancy Dive and Peckin’ already. 

I like Fancy Dive because it is funny but also involves a few broken bones. 

The fanciest dive that ever was dove
Was done by Melissa of Coconut Grove.
She bounced on the board and flew into the air
With a twist of her head and a twirl of her hair.
She did thirty-four jackknives, backflipped and spun,
Quadruple gainered, and reached for the sun,
And then somersaulted nine times and a quarter—
And looked down and saw that the pool had no water..

Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic

As you can tell from this example, many of the poems have an interesting twist in the end. There is a sense of Dr. Seuss in Shel Silverstein I think. 

Peckin’ is very sad but humorous. 

The saddest thing I ever did see
Was a woodpecker peckin’ at a plastic tree.
He looks at me and “Friend,” says he,
“Things ain’t as sweet as they used to be.

Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic.

This poem reminds me of the tragic story of Nigel, the lonely gannet. This was a bird in New Zealand that fell in love with a concrete bird and stayed with the concrete bird and eventually died. Poor Nigel was faithful to the very end.

Ladies First is a good poem and so is Almost Perfect.  In both poems, the main character is an annoying person who goes through life saying the same annoying phrase over and over again. Both Mary Hume (Almost Perfect) and Pamela Purse (Ladies First) get precisely what they deserve in the end. 

Marshmallow is reading Ladies First by Shel Silverstein in A Light in the Attic.
Marshmallow is reading Ladies First by Shel Silverstein in A Light in the Attic.

There are over a hundred more poems in the whole book. You should check them out yourself!

Marshmallow’s Review: Shel Silverstein’s poems are funny almost all the time — some are sad, like Cloony the Clown — but they are always well written. They all sound good; I enjoy reading many of the poems out loud to Caramel. Almost all poems in the book come with an illustration (drawn by Shel Silverstein himself) that adds to its effect.

This is overall a very good book. I am currently rereading the book for the fifth time, and I expect to be rereading it again and again in the future. 

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%

Marshmallow rates A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein 100%.
Marshmallow rates A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein 100%.