Marshmallow reviews Ivy and Bean: One Big Happy Family by Annie Barrows (Book 11 of the Ivy + Bean Series)

Marshmallow loved all ten of the Ivy + Bean books written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophia Blackhall when she first read them. She even reviewed one of her favorites for the Book Bunnies blog: you can check out her review of Book 9: Ivy and Bean Make the Rules. So when she heard last year that there would be an eleventh book, she just could not wait to get her paws on a copy. Today she reviews this eleventh book in the series: One Big Happy Family.

Marshmallow reviews Ivy and Bean: One Big Happy Family by Annie Barrows and Sophia Blackhall (Book 11 of the Ivy + Bean Series).
Marshmallow reviews Ivy and Bean: One Big Happy Family by Annie Barrows and Sophia Blackhall (Book 11 of the Ivy + Bean Series).

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you enjoyed Annie Barrow and Sophia Blackhall’s Ivy and Bean series, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Ivy is worried that she is becoming spoiled. Her classmate Vanessa says that only children are usually spoiled and she implies that Ivy is spoiled. Ivy starts to believe that she is spoiled so she and her best friend, Bean, search for a way for her to become unspoiled.

Ivy first tries giving away a lot of clothes at school, but then she gets in trouble and has to take them back. Then Ivy and Bean try to find a different way to “unspoil” Ivy. They realize that if it is only children that are supposed to be spoiled, then if Ivy is no longer an only child then she won’t be spoiled. Therefore, they ask Ivy’s mom to have a child, and when she says no, they try to find a different way to get a sibling for Ivy. For example they try asking the gods for help and bringing one of Ivy’s dolls to life. None of these ways works. They even tie their hands together thinking that their skin will grow together and make them conjoined twins. But then they will have to decide whose house to stay at. Ivy wants to rotate, but Bean wants to stay at her house. After some time being “conjoined twins” they decide that it is a bad idea.

Ivy continues to look for a way to be “unspoiled”. Read the book to find out!

Marshmallow is pointing to the page in Ivy and Bean: One Big Happy Family by Annie Barrows and Sophia Blackhall (Book 11 of the Ivy + Bean Series) where Bean is interrupting her sister Nancy's yoga session.
Marshmallow is pointing to the page in Ivy and Bean: One Big Happy Family by Annie Barrows and Sophia Blackhall (Book 11 of the Ivy + Bean Series) where Bean is interrupting her sister Nancy’s yoga session.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a really funny book, a great followup to all the other Ivy + Bean books that have entertained many young readers.

These books all have many characters that are relatable and funny. Ivy and Bean are funny to read about because they always have funny ideas, like when they think that they can become conjoined twins by tying their arms together, their whole theory being that when their skin grew it would grow together and they would be joined forever. Another weird idea of theirs is that by eating “brainfood” (strange combinations of foods), they will think unusual thoughts, helping them brainstorm ideas of how to “unspoil” Ivy.

This is a very good book for children of ages 5 and up. It is funny and the problems the kids are worried about are very funny and young bunnies can even see themselves in similar situations.

This is one of the few books in a series that I have reviewed that you could read without reading the earlier books. Still I think reading all the Ivy and Bean books would be good because they are all really fun!

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Ivy and Bean: One Big Happy Family by Annie Barrows and Sophia Blackhall (Book 11 of the Ivy + Bean Series) 100%.

Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel by Rey Terciero

Having already reviewed the original (unabridged) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Marshmallow recently read a modern retelling of the story: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo. Below she shares her thoughts on this book.

Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo.
Marshmallow reviews Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel, written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women and enjoy graphic novels like Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are four siblings who live in Brooklyn, New York. Their father is away in the Middle East fighting in the army. Meg wants to marry rich, Jo wants to write and be left alone, Beth wants to be a songwriter, and finally Amy wants to be an artist. They all have problems in their lives. Amy is bullied in school, Beth has health issues, Jo has trouble dealing with her “secret”, and Meg doesn’t like being poor and wants to have nice things. They are also all very worried that their father will not come back from the war. 

Marshmallow’s Review: This modern retelling of the classic Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a great graphic novel. I think the author Rey Terciero and the illustrator Bre Indigo did a great job of remaking Little Women for today’s readers.

This book shows each of the original characters and their characteristics very well, The pictures are also all very well created. They depict the feelings of the characters very well. 

It is interesting how the author made this a modern retelling. Almost all of the events that happen in the original happen in the retelling except that they are modernized. As a result, this is not as old-fashioned as the original book. In the original, the sisters all get married (except for Beth, who dies). In this version nobody gets married because they are all too young (and nobody dies, either).

I think that this version of the story is a lot more relatable since the sisters are all realistic. All of the girls suffer from different problems, and on top of all that, they all worry for their father who is in the Middle East fighting in a war.

I also recently watched the movie remake of Little Women. Here is the official trailer, which made me really want to see the movie:

The official movie trailer of Little Women (2019).

The movie stuck very close to the original and so it was similar to the book but not precisely. But in the graphic novel, I liked how Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are all very different. If you read the original or watched the movie, you can tell that the characters in the graphic novel are the same characters, but they encounter many different problems and they are living in today’s world. They also all change a lot from how they were in the beginning, so the story is interesting.

This is a very good book for eight to seventeen year olds. It might be slightly confusing if you haven’t read the original, but you can read it and still get much out of it in any case.   

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo 100%.
Marshmallow rates Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel written by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo 100%.

Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Marshmallow enjoys reading graphic novels now and then, and she has reviewed some of them for the book bunnies blog. See, for example, her reviews of Lucy and Andy Neanderthal and Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown, and her review of They Called Us Enemy by George Takei. This week she reviews one of her recent favorites: Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like graphic novels or if you enjoyed Raina Telgemeier’s other books, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers):  Cat’s sister, Maya, has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that makes it hard to breathe. Cat and her family move to a place called Bahiá de la Luna. Their parents think that Bahiá de la Luna will benefit Maya from the salty air, but unfortunately, Cat doesn’t like their new home. Still, since she wants her sister to get better, she tries to adapt.

One day their neighbor tells them that there are ghosts in the area. Cat doesn’t believe him but she soon learns that the neighbor was telling the truth. Maya is determined to meet a ghost and find out what dying is like.

“As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.”

Marshmallow is reading Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow is reading Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is an interesting book. The author, Raina Telgemeier, creates intriguing characters like Maya. Maya sometimes makes you think that she is not aware that she can die but then you realize that she realizes more than you think she does. Not only are the characters interesting, but the characters are also very relatable. Cat is someone you can relate to. Cat is infuriated when someone accidentally hurts Maya, and the drawings show her emotions very well. More generally the author does a great job drawing images that show the emotions of each character very clearly.

Cat is very protective of Maya. She is probably always very stressed because she keeps worrying that her sister Maya might die if she does something that she is not supposed to do.

My favorite character in Ghosts is Maya because she is so cheerful and she tries not to let her disease bring her down.

The setting, Bahiá de la Luna, is sort of creepy. As it says in the book, it has a “laid-back Halloween vibe”.  

This book displays a very different style of writing than Raina Telgemeier’s usual style. Her other books do not often deal with supernatural events.

This graphic novel is probably best for readers of ages eight to fifteen.

“Raina Telgemeier has masterfully created a moving and insightful story about the power of family and friendship, and how it gives the courage to do what we never thought possible.”

This quote on the back of the book describes the book in a nutshell. In this book you learn about Mexican traditions like an ofrenda, an altar for the dead, or The Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos). 

(Ghosts is dedicated to Sabrina Castello Collado, Raina’s cousin who died at age thirteen.)

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier 95%.
Marshmallow rates Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Judy Moody Goes to College by Megan McDonald

After Caramel reviewed Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald, Marshmallow decided it was time for her to review a book about the one and only Judy Moody, the big sister of Stink. Below she shares her thoughts on one of her favorite Judy Moody books: Judy Moody Goes to College.

Marshmallow reviews Judy Moody Goes to College by Megan McDonald.
Marshmallow reviews Judy Moody Goes to College by Megan McDonald.

Marshmallow’s Overview: If you like books that are about kids in elementary school, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Judy Moody’s substitute teacher sends her home with a note that saying that she needs help with her math. Judy’s parents decide that this means that she needs a tutor. Her annoying brother, Stink Moody, teases her about how the tutor is going to have her count jelly beans and play baby games. Little does she know that her tutor, Chloe, is in a college. When Judy finds out, her mood about tutoring is changed. She eventually enjoys tutoring and she learns a lot about math.

Judy brags about how she goes to college and so her friends, Rocky, Frank, and Jessica (a frenemy) start to stay away from her because they think that she is acting like she thinks that she is better than they are. Her tutor helps her in her school life and Judy and her tutor eventually become fast friends and towards the end Stink starts to ask if he can “go to college” like Judy. 

Marshmallow is reading Judy Moody Goes to College by Megan McDonald.
Marshmallow is reading Judy Moody Goes to College by Megan McDonald.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a good book because it is very lifelike. Judy, her tutor (Chloe), Stink, Rocky, Frank, Jessica, and other characters are all so realistic. Judy is like a real 3rd grader.

This a great example of a book where the character(s) have an opinion but eventually their opinion changes as the book continues. Judy does not want to be tutored first but Chloe eventually becomes her role model.

This is a really good read for those who enjoyed some of the other books that Megan McDonald wrote. Judy Moody Goes to College is part of a series that many have enjoyed reading. If you have read one of the books then I encourage you to read more since they are such realistic books that show how kids in elementary act in situations.

I enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it for anyone but it might be the best for 1rd up until 3rd grade. It is not very hard to read and it is not very long. The author does a very good job of explaining to the reader what type of personality Judy has. The author also does an excellent job of making Stink annoying in the Judy Moody books. If you read Caramel’s review of one of the Stink Moody books you know that in those books, Judy is very mean to her brother and often very sly. She tricks Stink to dye his hair orange for example. But in the Judy Moody books, he does annoying actions too, like taking her mood ring.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rated Judy Moody Goes to College by Megan McDonald 95%.
Marshmallow rated Judy Moody Goes to College by Megan McDonald 95%.