Caramel reviews Storm Boy by Paul Owen Lewis

This week Caramel reviews a book about a Haida prince and his adventure into the spiritual world of the whale people: Storm Boy, written and illustrated by Paul Owen Lewis. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Storm Boy by Paul Owen Lewis.
Caramel reviews Storm Boy by Paul Owen Lewis.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, tell us a bit about what this book is about.

Caramel: I think this is a very good book about a Haida prince, who was lost in the sea in a storm. Then he went to the spirit world of the killer whale people.

S: Wait, who are the killer whale people?

C: You don’t know what killer whales are? They are also called orcas!

S: Well, let me see. Wikipedia says that the killer whale is “a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family, of which it is the largest member. Killer whales have a diverse diet, although individual populations often specialize in particular types of prey. Some feed exclusively on fish, while others hunt marine mammals such as seals and other species of dolphin.” Wow! I did not know that killer whales “are highly social; some populations are composed of matrilineal family groups (pods) which are the most stable of any animal species. Their sophisticated hunting techniques and vocal behaviours, which are often specific to a particular group and passed across generations, have been described as manifestations of animal culture.” That is cool!

C: That is like a huge family…

S: Yes and they pass on what they know to their offspring, just like humans, and bunnies! But what do killer whales have to do with this Haida prince?

C: He is saved by them. And they also help him get home in the end.

S: But Caramel, when we look at the pictures of the book, we see large human-shaped people, not whales!

C: Because that is when they are in human form.

S: What do you mean?

C: The end of the book tells us that.

S: Yes, you are right. The author put some notes at the end of the book to explain some of what’s going on. So it is there we learn that this is a traditional hero’s journey story, told in the tradition of Northwestern American peoples. The following quote by Joseph Campbell is used to help us understand the story deeper:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

Joseph Campbell

C: And according to the way the Haida people see the world, all animals are like people, and they can take human form.

Caramel is looking at the part of Storm Boy by Paul Owen Lewis where the Haida prince is welcomed to the house of the chief of the killer whale people.
Caramel is looking at the part of Storm Boy by Paul Owen Lewis where the Haida prince is welcomed to the house of the chief of the killer whale people.

S: That is such an interesting way to see the world, isn’t it Caramel? That all animals are like us, they too have their homes, families, and cultures? And we can communicate with them if we want or at least we can try…

C: Yep.

S: So if you could meet one such people, what type of people would you like to meet? Whale people? Wolf people? Badger people?

C: I don’t know. I’m just a bunny, and I guess I would want to meet other bunny people.

S: That would be neat, wouldn’t it? So what else do you want to say about this book?

C: I want to rate this book like Marshmallow does in all her reviews. I rate it 100%! This is a neat book for all little bunnies! And big bunnies too. The pictures are very colorful!

S: And they have such detail in them! You are right, older folks could also get much out of this… Anyways Caramel, it is about time for us to wrap this up. So-

C: Stay tuned for more book bunnies reviews!

Caramel rates Storm Boy by Paul Owen Lewis 100%.
Caramel rates Storm Boy by Paul Owen Lewis 100%.

Caramel reviews A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems

After reviewing three books from the Elephant and Piggie Like Reading series (see his reviews of The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat, The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham, and Harold and Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat), Caramel is now rereading some of his old favorites from the original Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Wilems. Below he shares his thoughts on A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions, though this time Caramel himself also tried typing some of the words.

Caramel reviews A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems.
Caramel reviews A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems.

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

Caramel: boing! Boing boing boing boing boing!  I love this book! boing!                           

S: So what is that supposed to mean?

C: it is one of the best books that I have ever read! It is a very good book! I love it! And the boinging is about a bouncy ball.

S: Yes, the book has a ball in the center of the story, right? Tell us about the story. What is happening in the book?

C : There is a big guy that takes Piggie’s ball! Piggie is very sad. So Gerald the Elephant goes to the big guy to try and take the ball back.

S : Why can’t Piggie take it back herself?

C : The guy is too big, she’s scared. It’s a humpback whale! They are huge!

S : Yes, apparently they can grow up to 25 to 30 tonnes. That is a huge weight Caramel. And it is about the size of ten mid-sized elephants. So the big guy is probably too big for Gerald as well, right?

Caramel is reading the page where Gerald is telling Piggie that the big guy is really big.
Caramel is reading the page where Gerald is telling Piggie that the big guy is really big.

C: Yes. But in the end everything works out, and all three of them play together. They play a game called whale ball. But I don’t get it.

S: What do you not get Caramel?

C: How is the whale not in the ocean? And where is the water coming from that it spouts from its blow hole?

S: Hmm, those are good questions Caramel, but maybe just like an elephant and a pig are quite unlikely to be friends, the whale joining them is also quite unlikely, but it can happen in fiction. Isn’t that what fiction is about? A lot of times things that don’t always make sense or cannot really happen do happen in stories.

C: I don’t always like that though. I like real things.

S: Yes, of course I know that Caramel. But there are many fiction books you also enjoy reading, right? I think you have enjoyed reading all the Elephant and Piggie books many many times.

C: Yes! I also love the Narwhal and Jelly books!

S: Yes, and you reviewed all four of them:  Narwhal: The Unicorn of the Sea!Super Narwhal and Jelly JoltPeanut Butter and Jelly, and Narwhal’s Otter Friend, all by Ben Clanton. It is a good thing to read a balance of fiction and non-fiction. I think you are doing great!

C: Yes! I like reading. And I will keep reading. And reviewing books!

Caramel loves reading and rereading A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems.
Caramel loves reading and rereading A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems.