Caramel reviews The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems

Caramel loved everything he read about Mo Willems’ Pigeon and so he was excited to get his paws on a copy of his new adventure: The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! Below he reviews this book, published this summer. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions as needed.

Caramel reviews The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems.
Caramel reviews The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems.

Sprinkles: So another pigeon story, right?

Caramel: Yes! The pigeon is so funny! Here’s a quote:

“I wish I was a little chick again. A little-itty-bitty-not-going-to-school-baby-waybie pigeon!”

S: So that basically summarizes the book, right? The Pigeon does not want to go to school.

C: Yep.

Caramel is looking at the page where the Pigeon is worried about learning too much.
Caramel is looking at the page where the Pigeon is worried about learning too much.

S: Were you also worried about starting school, Caramel?

C: Yes. A little bit.

S: Why?

C: I was nervous because I thought, what if I won’t have any friends?

S: That’s totally natural Caramel. When we go into new places, we might be worried about not knowing anyone. But you did make friends pretty soon, right?

C: Yes! I found a good friend almost immediately. We still play fun stuff together.

S: So the Pigeon does not have to worry, right?

C: No. He doesn’t. School is fun!

S: Would that be what you would tell the Pigeon, that school is fun, so he does not have to worry?

C: Yep. I’d say don’t worry. It’s going to be alright. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be super duper awesome mega fun!

S: You like school a lot, don’t you Caramel?

C: Yep. I like my friends. I like my teacher. School is a lot of fun. But this year, I’ll probably have a new teacher. So I’m kind of worried. I already miss my old teacher.

S: Yes, your teacher was pretty cool, wasn’t she?

C: She was awesome!

S: I’m sure your new teacher will be awesome, too, Caramel.

C: Yes, I think so, too. I mean, I hope so.

S: Well, so in short we think school is fun. And the Pigeon doesn’t need to worry. What else do you want to say about this book Caramel?

C: This book would be a good book for kids who are starting school and who are a little scared.

S: Yes, Caramel! The Pigeon says all kinds of things that might worry a young child starting school. Like …

“What if the teacher doesn’t like pigeons?”

C: I really like the part where he is talking about heavy backpacks, but my favorite part is when he says:

“The unknown stresses me out, dude.”

S: The unknown can stress us out of course. We can totally see what the Pigeon is talking about, right?

C: Yes. There is a lot of stuff he doesn’t know about school and he is worried. He doesn’t even know if the finger paint will stick to his feathers!

S: Did you ever worry about finger paint Caramel?

C: No! I was worried about making friends and having a nice teacher. Finger paint sounds like fun! But we don’t do it too much in school actually.

S: You did some in preschool, but you might have forgotten. But you still do a lot of fun things at your school, right?

C: Yes, I love my school! It’s the best bunny school in the whole wide world!

S: And hopefully the school the Pigeon is going to is going to be the best school ever for pigeons.

C: Yes. I bet it will. Let us stop here. Readers: stay tuned for more reviews from the book bunnies!

Caramel wants to tell all pigeons that there is nothing to worry about and that school is really a lot of fun.
Caramel wants to tell all pigeons that there is nothing to worry about and that school is really a lot of fun.

Marshmallow reviews Blubber by Judy Blume

Marshmallow reviews Blubber (1974) by Judy Blume, about school, bullying, and friendship.

Marshmallow likes reading books about school-age kids, even if there are no dragons or wizards, though she quite likes it when those kinds of things do appear. Below she reviews a classic, Blubber by Judy Blume, first published in 1974.

Marhsmallow reviews Blubber by Judy Blume.
Marhsmallow reviews Blubber by Judy Blume.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about things that happen at school, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Fifth grader Jill Brenner is a part of a group of girls that bully a girl named Linda. Linda is bigger than the other kids in the class and so is bullied and mistreated. Since she gave a report on the whale and talked about a whale’s blubber, the bullies call her Blubber. Jill’s group, along with the rest of the class, tease, bully, and mistreat Linda.

The gang of bullies is made up of girls named Wendy, Caroline, and Jill. In this group they all have roles. Wendy is the leader, while Caroline is the muscle that holds the victims’ hands together while Jill does whatever Wendy says. Wendy is very manipulative. All the teachers like her and so if one of her victims tells on her, she just comes up with a lie, and then the teachers believe her, and so she does not get in to trouble. In this terrible way Wendy not only makes herself seem innocent but also makes the victim look like a liar.

On Halloween, Jill and her friend, Tracy Wu, try to get revenge on a man named Mr. Machinist (apparently he is a mean person) by putting rotten eggs in his mailbox. They put the rotten eggs in his mailbox. Then they meet Wendy and Caroline, who don’t believe that they put the eggs in his mailbox. When they show the eggs to Wendy and Caroline, Mr. Machinist catches them. They manage to get away, but Mr. Machinist takes a picture of Jill and Tracy before they can get away.

Marshmallow is pointing toward the letter Mr. Machinist sent to Jill's parents.
Marshmallow is pointing toward the letter Mr. Machinist sent to Jill’s parents.

Later Mr. Machinist sends a letter to Jill’s and Tracy’s families telling them that they put rotten eggs in his mailbox and that they need to pay. Mr. Machinist assigns them the job of raking up leaves in his backyard.

At school the girls decide that someone must have told Mr. Machinist the names of the girls in the picture. They think that it must have been Linda. Jill convinces her friends that they should hold a trial to determine if Linda is innocent or not. The trial brings an unexpected twist which changes the course of the story. 

Marshmallow’s Review: This book is written in the first person, from the perspective of Jill Brenner, who is part of the gang that bullies Linda, or as the group of bullies call her, Blubber. This fact (that the book is written in the first person) is not the only difference from most of the other books that I have reviewed though. (Ella Enchanted was also in first person.) The narrator, Jill, is just not a nice person. It is strange reading the story from her perspective. She does call Linda Blubber, which is not nice at all.

This book is about events that can occur in real life, and life doesn’t always end like “and they lived happily ever after“. This book does not end happily, but the main message (“treat others how you want to be treated“) does come through very clearly. It will make a good read for readers who appreciate books that don’t end “happily ever after” but instead leave you with things to think about.

There are some curse words in the book, which is one of the reasons why it might not be appropriate for all young readers.

Marshmallow’s rating: 90%

Marshmallow rates Blubber by Judy Blume 90%.
Marshmallow rates Blubber by Judy Blume 90%.