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, July 19, 2008

Reporter's Review: Trouble, by Gary Schmidt

Overall Grade: B
Clarion; 2008

Trouble. Trouble. Trouble. So far, this is the most difficult review we’ve had to write. Gary Schmidt undeniably does some amazing things with words—take any individual sentence in the book and you will be impressed by the beauty and flow of his language. The only problem is… It. Never. Stops. Every sentence is beautiful, which resulted in a sort of emotional stagnancy. The bar was set extremely high by beginning the story with a heart-wrenching tragedy breaking into Henry Smith’s beautiful, perfect world when his older brother is hit by a car, loses an arm and becomes comatose; but the author seems reluctant to let his readers feel any emotion other than melancholy for the rest of the book. Every scene is poignant…which makes all of them less moving than they ought to be. We wanted to feel the nitty-grittiness of daily life, but were hindered by the constancy of the florid language. Also, as beautiful as it was, much of it was overdone.
It was a pretty nice story…not astonishingly original, and we predicted the ending after the first quarter, but there was a good flow of character development and a brother-sister relationship that was almost really good.

Literary Quality: A-
Plot: C
Voice: B
Originality: B
Descriptive Ability: A+
Humor: B-
Illustrations: (none)
Believability of Characters: C
Believability of Situations: A-
Overall Reading Enjoyment: C

Possibly objectionable topics*: racism, vandalism, acts of violence, violent injury and death