Caramel reviews Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House #5) by Mary Pope Osborne

A while ago Caramel reviewed a fact checker book from Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House series: Knights and Castles. Today he shares his thoughts on the fifth book of the main series: Night of the Ninjas. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House #5) by Mary Pope Osborne.
Caramel reviews Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House #5) by Mary Pope Osborne.

Sprinkles: So tell us a bit about this book Caramel.

Caramel: It’s a book about ninjas. You probably already know that from the title.

S: That’s true. But how do the ninjas come into the story? Why don’t you start by telling us about the main idea of the magic tree house books?

C: They are about two siblings, Jack and Annie. They find a tree house in the woods near their home. They then find out that the tree house is magical.

S: How so?

C: There are many books in the tree house and when the kids look into one and wish they were in the place the book is talking about, they go there.

S: That is a neat idea! So the magic tree house takes them anywhere.

C: And any time too! So it is like the TARDIS of Doctor Who, a time machine and space travel machine. Except I don’t know if it goes into space. Oh wait, there is the eighth book, which is Midnight on the Moon, so they do go into space too.

S: That sounds exciting. And in this fifth book you wanted to talk about, they go to …

C: The time of the ninjas. And the samurai.

S: So that is in Japan, a few centuries ago probably, right?

C: Right. In an earlier book they even went to the time of the dinosaurs.

S: That’s cool! So in the time of the ninjas and the samurai, Jack and Annie have an adventure?

C: Yep. They are trying to help their friend Morgan Le Fay.

S: And you learn something about ninjas in this book too, right?

C: Yes, I learned the three ways of the ninja: Use nature. Be nature. Follow nature.

S: Hmm, those sound kind of cryptic. But the kids make good use of these three rules in the book, right?

C: Right.

S: There are some samurai in this book, besides the ninjas, right? You have read and reviewed a book about samurai before. How do the samurai in this book differ from the ones in your earlier reading?

C: Yes, in that book I learned that samurai are honorable warriors. But in this book, the samurai are the enemies of the ninja, who are helping Jack and Annie. So here, samurai are scarier. There is even a picture of a samurai on one of the first pages and he looks scary.

Caramel is looking at the page in Mary Pope Osborne's Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House #5) with the scary ninja picture.
Caramel is looking at the page in Mary Pope Osborne’s Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House #5) with the scary ninja picture.

S: Yes, I guess there are different ways to think about many historical events and groups of people. So did you enjoy reading about Jack and Annie’s adventures in old Japan?

C: Yes.

S: And we should probably continue reading the next few Magic Tree House books, right? I know Marshmallow really enjoyed reading them all.

C: Yes. I am going to read book 6 next: Afternoon on the Amazon.

S: Hmm, that sounds intriguing. But for now, we can stop here. What do you want to tell our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel enjoyed reading Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House #5) by Mary Pope Osborne, and would recommend it to all other young bunnies.
Caramel enjoyed reading Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House #5) by Mary Pope Osborne, and would recommend it to all other young bunnies.

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!