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, August 16, 2008

Reporter's Review: Bewitching Season, by Marissa Doyle

Overall Grade: B
Henry Holt; 2008

In Bewitching Season, by Marissa Doyle, the twin sisters Pers(ephon)e and Pen(elope) Leland are caught in a jumble of social obligations, political intrigues, silk gowns, and sorcerer’s spells. Cleverly plotted and rich with interesting historical details of early Victorian England, the story is gripping and intriguing…it would have been really wonderful if it didn’t fit quite so easily into a prefabricated genre, easily fitting into the spin-off slot of either Harry Potter or Bewitched. Nonetheless, the historical elements and likable characters (particularly some of the secondary ones) saved it from mediocrity: it was good, fair and square.
Now, to continue to be fair, our pet peeves must be aired: Too much explanation of the way magic works, at unlikely moments in dialogue; Too much “cute” magic for which there is no cost, no consequence; Anachronistic (modern) dialogue in a historical piece; Stereotypical romantic situations. That’s all… They may seem like such trivial things to complain about, and they probably are—but thus they are also trivial things to fix in a manuscript before it is published. Without those few weaknesses, the believability and enjoyment of Bewitching Season would have been vastly improved.
We wouldn’t complain about them if the rest wasn’t good, however…So, Bravo to Ms. Doyle on her first venture into publication.

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

Possibly objectionable topics*: witchcraft and sorcery; gossip of adultery and illegitimate children.

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