Caramel reviews Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald

Caramel loves picture books and big-format non-fiction books, but he is also reading some chapter books these days. This week he is talking about the first book in Megan McDonald’s Stink series: Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.
Caramel reviews Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.

Sprinkles: So Caramel what do you want to tell us about this book? What is this book about?

Caramel: This book is about a boy named Stink.

S: Is Stink his real name?

C: No. It’s a name his big sister gave him. She is mean.

S: Yes, naming your little brother “Stink” is not a very nice thing to do, is it?

C: No. And she killed his class pet, too.

S: Wait, how did that happen?

C: It went down the drain!

S: So Stink, wait, what is his real name?

C: No idea.

S: Let us see. I’m sure we can figure it out. Hmm, look, here is the letter he wrote to the governor.

C: Yes. He signed the letter James E. Moody. So that must be his name.

S: But then why is the book called Stink?

C: His big sister calls him Stink.

S: Oh yes, and who is his big sister?

C: Judy Moody.

S: Yes, so maybe some readers will have met this little boy in the Judy Moody books, right? And in those books, everything is told from Judy’s perspective, and Judy thinks her little brother is annoying.

C: But this book is about the brother, and we read Stink’s own ideas.

S: Yes we finally get to meet this little person for real and see things from his perspective a bit. Do you like that?

C: Yes. But I have not read any of the Judy Moody books. Marshmallow has read many, but she has not yet reviewed any for this blog.

S: Maybe she will one day. But let’s get back to Stink. So this is a chapter book, so there are many different things that happen to James E Moody, right?

C: There are seven chapters, so seven different stories. But they are all about Stink.

S: Which one is your favorite?

C: I don’t know. They are all a little different. But they are also all about Stink wanting to grow taller.

S: Yes, I guess that is why the book is titled the shrinking kid. Because Stink thinks at the beginning that he is shrinking. Do you think that is really happening?

C: He shrank a quarter of an inch!

S: How could that have happened?

C: No idea.

S: What would you do if you found out you were shrinking?

C: I would be scared. I’m already small. I’m a little bunny.

S: Yes, that is true… Hmm. Tell me more about the book. Tell me about the pictures.

C: Many of the pictures are supposed to be drawn by Stink. I like them. They are funny.

S: Yes, I saw the one where the sink that the class pet disappeared in became a monster, according to Stink’s drawing.

Caramel is reading the page in Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid (written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds) where Stink is introducing us to the Jaws Monster, which is basically the sink that ate up his class pet newt (or rather, his big sister Judy Moody dropped the newt and then it went down the drain).
Caramel is reading the page in Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid (written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds) where Stink is introducing us to the Jaws Monster, which is basically the sink that ate up his class pet newt (or rather, his big sister Judy Moody dropped the newt and then it went down the drain).

S: So do you think this is a fun book to read?

C: Yes. I might even read it again and again. But now, it’s time to wrap things up.

S: Yes. So you have something to say, right?

C: Yes! Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!

Caramel has enjoyed reading Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.
Caramel has enjoyed reading Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.

Marshmallow reviews Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown

Marshmallow reviews the second book in Jeffrey Brown’s Lucy and Andy Neanderthal series: Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age.

Last week Marshmallow reviewed They Called Us Enemy, written by the Star Trek veteran George Takei together with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott, and illustrated by Harmony Becker. Today she wanted to review a more light-hearted graphic novel and she chose the second book of Jeffrey Brown’s Lucy & Andy Neanderthal series: Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age. For her review of the first book, Lucy and Andy Neanderthal, see here. (Caramel reviewed a book by Jeffrey Brown too; you might enjoy his review of My Teacher is a Robot.)

Marshmallow reviews Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown.
Marshmallow reviews Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown.

Marshmallow’s Overview:  If you like graphic novels and movies or books about the ice age, then this might be the book for you. You can enjoy it even if you have not read the first book (or my review of it).

Marshmallow’s Summary: Lucy and Andy Neanderthal are living in the Ice Age and now are friends with a clan of humans. Some of the Neanderthals like Lucy are best friends with some of the humans (Sasha), but her brother, Andy, is not enjoying the humans that are living in his cave with him. One human child, named Richard, especially annoys him by making fun of him. But he does make friends with a boy named Tommy who is scared of cave bears.

Lucy and Andy have fun with their new friends. They go to the beach and collect shells. They also face a cave bear. In the end, Sasha’s mom has a new child and so Sasha becomes an older sister.

Marshmallow is reading Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown.
Marshmallow is reading Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown.

Marshmallow’s Review: I enjoyed this book very much. Like the last book I reviewed this is a graphic novel. It has funny drawing and will make readers read it in one sitting. This book has excellent characters that are amusing, relatable, and interesting. It also has facts that intertwine fiction and nonfiction. 

“Fact and fiction cleverly collide in this prehistoric romp.

Shelf Awareness

The above quote describes this excellent book well. It is fun and entertaining to think about how humans and neanderthals must have interacted. The book is full of facts but is also completely hilarious. If you enjoyed the first book, you will certainly enjoy this one too.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading and rereading this terrific book about Neanderthals and the Ice Age. The author, Jeffrey Brown, draws hilarious drawings that describe that characters personalities. This is a very good book that can be read and reread over and over again.  I would recommend it to any and all bunnies who like books and want to laugh out loud while reading.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown 100%.
Marshmallow rates Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown 100%.

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%.