We don't do stars...
We don't do thumbs...
We read children's books and grade them in 10 categories:
literary quality
descriptive ability
humor (if attempted)
illustrations (if present)
believability of characters
believability of situations
overall reading enjoyment

There is no grading curve. There are no points for classroom participation. There is no extra credit.
If you disagree, come speak to us after class.

The Grading System

A+.....this means (guess what) we think it's great. So great it surprised even us.
A.....this means it's pretty darn good. A book we'd recommend to just about everyone we know.
B.....better than most. Not exactly Shakespeare for kids, though, if you get our drift.
C.....mediocre. Like the color beige, it didn't stand out.
D.....we didn't like it. There were more bad aspects than good ones.
F.....it reeked of badness. We read it over and over when we are in dire need of hysterical laughter.
F-.....We're pretty sure Dante had a circle of hell for the people who wrote these...and a lower circle for those who published them.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Reporter's Review: A Curse Dark as Gold, by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Overall Grade: A
Arthur A. Levine; April, 2008

You tread upon dangerous ground when you decide to re-write a fairy tale; why mess with something that has satisfied readers for hundreds of generations, after all? We suppose the only reason is that you could do it better—and Elizabeth C. Bunce turned Rumpelstiltskin into something it has never been before. Although A Curse Dark as Gold is written for young adults, “old adults” would do well to read it and consider its themes. Who would have guessed that an old fairy tale could become a vehicle for a profound story about family, friendship, marriage, perseverance, and forgiveness?
While the evil pervading the story was at times a little unsettling (you tread on even more dangerous ground when you thrust a fairy tale into the “real world,” curses, witches and all), the main characters’ goodness was so overwhelming and so honestly portrayed that it made up for the bad stuff…and a lot of bad stuff happened to these poor characters. The story is of a cursed family trying to keep their generations-old wool mill alive against all odds…so don’t read it if you’re not prepared for some heart-wrenching moments when terrible things happen just when you were expecting the storm clouds to clear away.
But rest assured, they do clear away at the end in true fairy-tale fashion… You know how some writers are beginning writers—with this amazing first chapter that pulls you in right away and instantly links your life to the characters? And some are middle writers, developing plot twists that make your head spin? Elizabeth Bunce is an ending writer. Few people can pull off an ending this good, and it’s more than worth a slightly slow beginning to get to it.

Literary Quality: A
Plot: A
Voice: A+
Originality: A
Descriptive Ability: A+
Humor: (none, not factored into grade)
Illustrations: (none)
Believability of Characters: A+
Believability of Situations: A-
Overall Reading Enjoyment: A

Possibly objectionable topics*: Two brief illusions to sex—the first in a very respectful reference to marriage, the second referring to the illegitimate parentage of a character (Neither are in any way graphic or crude); witchcraft; curses; violent death of multiple characters (again, not graphic)

1 comment:

Jackie said...

i loved this book so much! you are right about her writing. i can't wait until she writes another book!