Marshmallow reviews The Unteachables by Gordon Korman

Marshmallow enjoys reading books about school and friendship. She has already reviewed Blubber by Judy Blume, In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton, and Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins for the book bunnies blog. This week she reviews Gordon Korman’s The Unteachables., published first in 2019.

Marshmallow reviews The Untechables by Gordon Korman.
Marshmallow reviews The Untechables by Gordon Korman.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about school and friendship, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Kiana Roubini is living with her father and stepmother Louise while her mother is producing a movie. The book starts with Louise driving Kiana to her new school to register her for the year. But then, Kiana’s baby brother starts crying and her stepmom, who she rudely calls “Stepmonster” (in her mind), has to go back to their house, telling Kiana that they will be back soon.

Kiana waits for a long time and Louise does not come back. So Kiana decides that she will register herself. The school registration office is very busy and Kiana ends up with someone else’s class schedule. The room number the person is assigned to is 117.

When Kiana asks another student for directions, he seems friendly at first, but the second that he hears that she is in room 117, he quickly leaves. When she finds her way to “her” class, she finds that her fellow pupils are roasting marshmallows on pencils and eating them. (eek! why would anyone want to eat me! oh, okay, let’s continue.) Then she meets her teacher: Mr. Kermit is sitting at his desk solving crossword puzzles from the newspaper while his students wreak havoc upon the classroom. 

The students in room 117 are not there to learn. All that they do is worksheets that their teacher doesn’t even grade. They were all separated from the rest of the children from the district because they are supposed to be unintelligent and unable to learn and so they just sit in the room and mess around. They are supposed to be misfits and delinquents. But soon, Kiana learns that they are actually pretty nice. She also learns more about Mr. Kermit and what made him seem so cold and distant.

You need to read the book to learn more!

Marshmallow is reading The Unteachables by Gordon Korman.
Marshmallow is reading The Unteachables by Gordon Korman.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a very interesting book. It is very sad how all of the kids were removed from the “normal” classes and put in room 117. It is sad because they are actually the same as the rest of the kids. They all want to make friends, they want to learn, and they need adults to trust that they can actually learn.

My favorite thing in the book is the “Toilet Bowl”. That is Mr. Kermit’s coffee cup. It is huge! In one of the chapters narrated by Mr. Kermit, he says:

“I need coffee. I cheer myself up by picturing the Toilet Bowl on the shelf in the faculty lounge, dwarfing all the lesser mugs.”

Each chapter is narrated by a different character, and I think that it is very interesting that the author chose to do that. It is also very interesting that we hear the views of a lot of people, not only the views of the main characters, but also the views of the enemies of Mr. Kermit and class 117. 

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.     

Marshmallow rates The Untechables by Gordon Korman 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Untechables by Gordon Korman 100%.

Marshmallow reviews Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins

Marshmallow reviews Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins.

Marshmallow got a couple books from the Upside-Down Magic series at a book fair on her school campus and read them over and over for a while now. Below she reviews the first book in the series: Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins.

Marshmallow reviews Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins.
Marshmallow reviews Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about people who are different from others, and if you like magic, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): Nory Horace (Eleanor Horace) is the daughter of the schoolmaster of Sage Academy, so when she fails to get into the Academy, she and her father are very disappointed. Instead Nory goes to another school, Dunwiddle Magic School. 

In this book everybody has magic. They can either have the ability to light fires (a Flare), the ability to make friends with animals (a Fluffy), the ability to transform into animals  (a Fluxer), the ability to fly (a Flyer), or the ability to make oneself and other things invisible (a Flicker). You get your magic when you are ten. You don’t get to choose your magic. You find out what you are when you are ten.

Nory finds out that she has the ability to transform into animals, but unlike most people with that ability, she transforms into animals that are half and half, like a kitten that has dragon wings (a “dritten”) and a puppy that has squid legs. You get the idea.

Marshmallow is reading Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins.
Marshmallow is reading Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins.

Nory’s friend Elliot, instead of creating fire, freezes objects. Andres can fly much higher than an average kid who is a Flyer, but he can’t come down. Instead of transforming into live animals, Bax turns into inanimate objects like rocks or pianos. Pepper is the opposite of the type of person who makes friends with animals; instead she terrifies all animals, including humans transformed into animals. Marigold is like a type of Flicker; she makes things shrink. Willa can make it rain indoors. Sebastian can see sound waves.

This is the full class of the Upside-Down Magic class, for kids who do not have typical magic, or as they like to call it, kids who have upside-down magic. 

In their classroom, lessons are unconventional, students are unpredictable, and magic has a tendency to turn wonky at the worst possible moments. Because it’s always amazing, the trouble a little wonky magic can cause . .

https://www.sarahm.com/upside-down-magic

Nory has an exciting time in this class. 

Marshmallow’s review: This book is the first of a series of six, a hexalogy like Soman Chainani‘s School for Good and Evil series.(See my review of the fourth book here and the fifth here.) So far in the series I only read a couple, but I really enjoyed this first book. It shows how tough it is to be different from others, but how sometimes it can also be beautiful and unique and that you can enjoy being unique. For example, Nory eventually likes turning into a dritten. Being different can also be hard though. Elliot has some friends (Lacey, Zinnia, and Rune) that tease him because he freezes objects instead of burning them. They are very mean. 

Marshmallow’s rating: 90%. 

Marshmallow ranks Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins 90%.
Marshmallow ranks Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins 90%.

Caramel reviews My Teacher is a Robot by Jeffrey Brown

Caramel is going to have a new teacher this school year, and so Sprinkles thought he might find it amusing to read about a little boy who thinks his teacher is a robot. Below Caramel talks about his thoughts on My Teacher is a Robot by Jeffrey Brown. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews My Teacher is a Robot by Jeffrey Brown.
Caramel reviews My Teacher is a Robot by Jeffrey Brown.

Sprinkles: I thought you might find this book about a little boy and his teacher amusing Caramel.

Caramel: Yes. I did find it fun to read. It was funny.

S: What is it about?

C: A little boy named Fred and his teacher Mr. Bailey.

S: So what happens to Fred and Mr. Bailey?

C: Fred keeps thinking that Mr. Bailey is a robot.

S: Why?

C: I don’t know.

S: Does Mr. Bailey look like a robot?

C: No but they can make robots that look like humans.

S: Ok, so what about Mr. Bailey makes Fred concerned?

C: I don’t know really.

S: I guess Fred likes to live in an imaginary world, doesn’t he?

C: Yes. This imaginary world is super duper funny. For example, when Mr. Bailey tells them it’s time for history, Fred gets excited and imagines the class pet gold fish is a pre-historic sea creature.

S: Yes, that part is exceptionally funny, right? When Mr. Bailey says history, Fred thinks maybe they’ll talk about dinosaurs. Do they?

C: No. They do the history of Japan.

S: You know some things about the history of Japan, don’t you Caramel?

C: Yep. I even reviewed a book about samurai on this blog.

S: Yes, that was a neat book and a neat review. So when they are talking about Japan, what happens to the classroom?

C: The kids do all sorts of things about Japan. Two of them do a tea ceremony. Then there is a cherry blossom tree and a samurai, and a sumo wrestler. Or at least a kid named Scooter who says:

Who wants to sumo wrestle?

S: And the whole room transforms, right? Do you think there is an actual cherry tree in the classroom?

C: No, I think it’s all stuff Fred is imagining.

S: Or maybe Fred and his classmates all together, right? There is a little girl (I think her name is Charlotte) sitting in the middle of a sand meditation garden. Do you think that that meditation garden is really in the classroom?

C: No. Of course not.

S: Do you think Charlotte is really riding a unicorn at the very end and the mud monsters are really attacking the kids when they’re in the playground?

C: No! They are all pretend. But they could actually have made the mud monsters themselves, right?

S: Yeah, that’s true.

Caramel is looking at one of the fun pages in My Teacher is a Robot where the kids are all in the school playground and are being attacked by the mud monsters.
Caramel is looking at one of the fun pages in My Teacher is a Robot where the kids are all in the school playground and are being attacked by the mud monsters.

S: So do you think Mr. Bailey is really a robot?

C: No. I don’t think so.

S: Well maybe that’s just another way Fred makes his life more interesting. If your teacher is a robot, then school becomes a bit more ….

C: Interesting! But I’m not sure I want my teacher to be a robot.

S: I’m quite sure you do not have to worry about that. You’re meeting your new teacher very soon, right?

C: Yes. I already know her name, but I don’t know much else about her.

S: Well, I think you at least know she’s not a robot.

C: Actually I don’t. Eek!

S: Ok, Caramel. How about we wrap up this review here and then you report back when you figure it all out and tell us if your new teacher is a robot or not?

C: Ok. Stay tuned for more book bunny adventures!

P.S. added August 29 2019: Caramel is happy to report that no, his new teacher is not a robot, and is in fact a really nice person.

Caramel enjoyed reading My Teacher is a Robot by Jeffrey Brown.
Caramel enjoyed reading My Teacher is a Robot by Jeffrey Brown.

Marshmallow reviews In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton

Marshmallow has finally gotten into the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton, which used to be a favorite of Sprinkles when she was a young bunny. In the review below Marshmallow reviews the fifth book of the series: In the Fifth at Malory Towers. As a change, this time Sprinkles is involved, too. Let us see how this one goes.

Marshmallow reviews In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.
Marshmallow reviews In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.

Sprinkles: So Marshmallow I have been seeing you reading the Malory Towers books over and over in these last few days.

Marshmallow: Yeah, I have been reading them, that’s true.

S: Can you tell our readers what these books are all about?

M: They are about some British girls going to a school called Malory Towers. Malory Towers is a boarding school for girls only.

S: The school is for six year and there is one book for each year, right?

M: Yes. Each year, there are multiple problems that come up and we see the girls grow up as they go through all that. Though some of them don’t seem to get more mature. They don’t seem to get nicer.

S: Yes, there is a specific mean character, you mean?

M: Yes. She’s spiteful, cunning, and sly. She’s also conceited; she thinks she’s great.

S: You’re talking about Gwendoline, right?

M: Yes, Gwendoline Mary Lacey. And she lies to her parents, too, telling them that she is good at everything.

S: Ok, let us talk about the more pleasant characters. Tell us about some of them.

M: Darrell Rivers is the main character. And her best friend is Sally Hope.

S: They are both good kids, right?

M: Well. Darrell has some anger issues. At least in the earlier books.

S: Then she should read Caramel’s review of Train Your Angry Dragon, right?

M: That might not be good enough. She needs to read the book! Anyways, Sally also is not perfect. She gets jealous sometimes. But overall they are, as you say, good kids. Actually most of the characters have some serious flaws.

S: But isn’t that quite natural? No bunny is perfect.

M: Yes I suppose that’s true. And maybe that makes the book more realistic.

S: Ok, now it is probably time that we start talking about the fifth book. Why did you want to talk about this one more specifically?

M: This one is my favorite. It’s interesting to see how all the talents and strengths of the girls come together to create something, the Christmas show.

S: You and your classmates often do school plays, right?

M: Yes we do at least one play every other year.

S: That does take a lot of group effort and practice.

M. Right. But in this book there are also other problems that the girls have to face. Moira and Alicia get really mad at each other for instance and Alicia quits. Then Alicia’s cousin June gets mad at Moira and starts writing poison pen letters.

S: That’s an interesting phrase Marshmallow. What does poison pen letter mean?

M: I had not heard of it before reading this book but Wikipedia has a brief description.

S: That’s really mean, right? To send spiteful and anonymous letters to people to hurt them?

M: Yes, that’s really mean. In the end June is punished for it. But let us not spoil the book for the readers. Maybe this is a good place to stop?

S: Yes, I think we gave them some good teasers so they can follow up with the threads themselves. Thanks for the chat Marshmallow.

M: Yay! I get to say it this time: Stay tuned for more reviews from the Book Bunnies!

Marshmallow enjoyed reading In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.
Marshmallow enjoyed reading In the Fifth at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton.