Marshmallow reviews Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

Marshmallow reviews Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary.

Through the years, Marshmallow has enjoyed reading several books by Beverly Cleary, the prolific writer of children’s books. Below she writes about Beezus and Ramona, the first book of Cleary featuring Ramona Quimby written in 1955.

Marshmallow reviews Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary.
Marshmallow reviews Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books that are about siblings or have enjoyed reading some of Beverly Cleary’s other books before, then this book might be for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Beezus (or Beatrice really, but everyone calls her Beezus) and Ramona Quimby are two sisters who are sometimes nice to each other and sometimes not. Four-year-old Ramona annoys her big sister Beezus a lot. For example when Beezus’s friend comes over, Ramona knocks their checker game over. Then she sticks her doll into Beezus’s birthday cake while pretending to be Gretel. After Ramona writes her name on every page on a library book that Beezus checked out for Ramona, Beezus is really very annoyed. As you can see Ramona is not a very nice little sibling.

Marshmallow is pointing at the page where we see some of Ramona's scribbles.
Marshmallow is pointing at the page where we see some of Ramona’s scribbles.

Ramona is a very realistic annoying sibling. For example, when she finds a lot of apples in the basement, she takes one bite out of each apple and then starts another one. The Quimby family has some exciting times, like when Ramona invites her whole nursery school class to a party without asking her parents if she could.

The author, Beverly Cleary, wrote this book as part as a series featuring Ramona, Beezus, and her friends. In fact Ramona did not come to be a central character till about ten years later when she wrote Ramona the Pest, in 1968.

Marshmallow’s review: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is an old book, published even before my parents were born, but it is still a good read for readers who like books about sibling problems.

Beezus and Ramona is a classic like some other books that I have reviewed earlier, such as Half Magic and Five Children and It. It is also very funny and will make a lot of people laugh, like when Ramona powders her nose with marshmallows she calls “powder puffs”.

This is the first of a series of books by Beverly Cleary featuring Ramona Quimby. It is also one of my favorite books from the author. Ramona is very funny in this book. Some of my other favorite books by Beverly Cleary include Ramona the Pest, Ramona the Brave, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Henry and Ribsy, Ellen Tebbits, Henry and Beezus, and Ramona’s World. I like these books because they are funny, well written, and realistic.

The drawings in the book add to the story’s description.

One thing I really enjoy about Beverly Cleary’s books is that they end well. In Beezus and Ramona the story ends… well I don’t want to spoil the end but let’s just say it ends well.

Marshmallow’s rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary 95%.
Marshmallow rates Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Lucy and Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown

Marshmallow reviews Lucy & Andy Neanderthal, the first book in the Lucy & Andy Neanderthal series of Jeffrey Brown.

Marshmallow and Caramel recently got their paws on books by Jeffrey Brown. A couple weeks ago, Caramel reviewed his, My Teacher is a Robot. Today Marshmallow reviews hers, the first book in the Lucy & Andy Neanderthal series of Jeffrey Brown: Lucy & Andy Neanderthal.

Marshmallow reviews Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown.
Marshmallow reviews Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like comic books or fiction books that also have some facts about interesting stuff, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Lucy & Andy Neanderthal is a comic book about a brother and a sister, Lucy and Andy Neanderthal, who are two Neanderthal kids living in the Stone Age. They have a little brother, Danny, and share their cave with a few other people including two older kids, Phil and Margaret. Andy really wants to join their family when they go to hunt, but his parents will not let him because hunting mammoth is too dangerous. 

Lucy and Andy have many adventures. One of them, “Substitute Babysitters”, starts with a rock Andy throws that hits Phil on the head by accident. Phil’s head swells. Lucy, Andy, and Margaret take Phil to Lucy and Andy’s mother so she can help him. She goes looking for medicine, and leaves Andy and Lucy to look after their little brother, Danny, while Margaret looks after Phil. 

Danny finds a stick and starts banging it around. Lucy takes the stick from him, and Andy gives another stick to Danny. Lucy keeps finding a problem with the sticks Andy offers to Danny, like how it is too small and how Danny could choke on it. Then Danny starts crying and Andy gives him another stick, but Danny slaps it away. Then they follow Danny to the cave where Margaret offers him some berries. Danny eats the berries and then he throws up. Lucy has Andy clean it up and then Andy gets mad and imitates Lucy. Lucy farts and then blames it on Andy. In the midst of this chaos, Danny sneaks away. 

Once the older kids realize that Danny sneaked away, they start to panic. They start looking for Danny and find Danny’s pants. Phil thinks that Danny must have been eaten, but Andy says that Danny always takes his pants off. Eventually they find Danny and get him to come back to the cave. 

The above probably already gives you a sense of the kinds of stories in the book. They are always hilarious! But close to the end of the book, the Neanderthals meet the humans. The humans invite the Neanderthals over to dinner because they ate the leftovers of the mammoth that the Neanderthals hunted. Will the two groups be friends or mortal enemies?

Marshmallow is pointing to a typical page of Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown.
Marshmallow is pointing to a typical page of Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown.

Marshmallow’s review: Lucy & Andy Neanderthal is a very funny book. Jeffrey Brown’s drawings are very successful, and the writing is very clear, so even a reader who has never read a comic book before can enjoy reading the book. 

The main characters are fictional Neanderthals living in the Stone Age, but there are also two scientist characters who tell us facts that relate to the stories. They tell us about the first toothbrush for instance, and the differences between the modern humans and the Neanderthals. There are more facts at the end of the book. For instance, you can learn there that Neanderthal women hunted, too:

“Scientists still debate whether men hunted more, but Neanderthal women at least participated in some, if not all, hunting.”

I enjoyed this book very much and reread it many times. I highly recommend it to people who like comic books and Neanderthals. Of course you might not know you like Neanderthals before reading the book. So why don’t you just give it a try?

Marshmallow’s rating: 100% 

Marshmallow rates Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown 100%.
Marshmallow rates Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown 100%.

Marshmallow reviews The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu

Marshmallow recently got her paws on Anne Ursu’s recent book The Lost Girl, and finished it in two days. Below she shares some of her thoughts on the book.

Marshmallow reviews The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu.
Marshmallow reviews The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books that are about mystery and friendship, then this might be for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): Let me start with the publisher’s synopsis: 

“When you are an identical twin, your story always starts with someone else. For Iris, that means her story starts with Lark. Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark is inventive, dreamy, and brilliant–and from their first moments in the world together, they’ve never left each other’s side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sisters already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together.”

This already tells you that the book is about twins Iris and Lark. We know that they complement each other. A big problem that they face in the book is that the adults in their lives think it might be better for them to be separate for a while. This is a big deal and shakes both girls up a lot. This is one of the two main threads in the book.

The second thread is about a mysterious store. Before fifth grade starts, a small odd shop named Treasure Hunters opens in their town. Right outside the shop is a sign that says:

WE ARE HERE.”

Iris and Lark go in the store, and inside they meet a man that Iris thinks looks like a mole. Iris asks him about the sign. The man asks if they believe in keeping their promise. They say that they do. The man acts as if that answered their question.

Then later, they learn about their class assignments. For the first time they are going to be in different classes: Iris has Mrs. Shonubi and Lark has Mr. Hunt. The girls think that Mr. Hunt is a mean teacher, “an ogre”, they think. (Actually they think he is a real ogre, the mythical one.)

The girls soon realize that the sign next to the new shop no longer says, “WE ARE HERE.” The sign now says,

ARE YOU?

The girls are startled and think that it is a peculiar way of advertising. As their school starts the sign changes again and this time says

ALICE, WHERE ARE YOU?

Iris enters the store to ask who Alice is. The man seems reluctant but eventually says that Alice was his sister. Iris asks what happened to her and the man says that she just disappeared. He looks very sad.

Alice is not the only person or thing that disappears however. The famous Spoonbridge and Cherry in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden also disappears. So does a beluga named Peanut and the sulu bleeding heart specimen. Some items in Iris and Lark’s home also go missing: Lark’s bracelet, a doll named Baby Thing, Lark’s beanbag cat named Esmerelda, and a figure of an ogre. Where do all these go? Find out in The Lost Girl.  

Marshmallow is pointing at a picture from the book, but do not look too carefully if you don't want any further spoilers!
Marshmallow is pointing at a picture from the book, but do not look too carefully if you don’t want any further spoilers!

Marshmallow’s review: This is a very interesting book that has an intriguing plot. It is a little creepy, so it is for ages eight and up. There is a very interesting twist toward the end and the bad guy turns out to be someone that is unexpected.

This is a book that is about friendship. It is a mix between creepy, mystery, and friendship. Iris unwillingly goes to a camp for girls and finds that friendship between girls can be empowering, despite her original cynicism.

The plot is intricate, and everything fits together, just like in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, though if you are not careful or if you read it too fast, in the end it might get a little bit confusing. But all in all it is well planned and it is evident that the author planned everything out and left clues for the reader.

Marshmallow’s rating: 95%

Marshmallow rates The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu 95%.
Marshmallow rates The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu 95%.