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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reporter's Review: The Boy Who Dared, by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Overall Grade: B+
Scholastic; 2008

Susan Campbell Bartoletti is a wonderful researcher. In The Boy Who Dared, she found the story of a reluctant Hitler youth who is brave (and maybe stupid, as his family thought) enough to stand against the Nazis and risk his life for truth. Undeniably, the story itself is beautiful, although it is hard to give the author credit for that—after all, she only found it—the main character, Helmuth Hubener, is the real author of his story. It was well-told, however—not excellently, but not badly either. At times the character’s reactions were unbelievable, and Helmuth’s change from a young, excited Hilter-supporter to a angry, disillusioned Nazi-hater is jolting and confusing. The flashback style is interesting and the descriptions of the concentration camp are moving, if somewhat stylistically overdone.
Nonetheless, this is a book to be read. The author was brave enough to make a statement herself: the second world war was terrible for everyone. The atrocities committed against the Jews tend to have plenty of media—and as deserved as that is, it is enlightening to see the story from another perspective. Brave Germans—even ones such as Helmuth and his brother who were forced into serving the Nazis—also deserve to have their stories told.

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

Possibly objectionable topics*: war; violence (including torture and privations of a concentration camp); Nazi propaganda involving anti-Semitism (shown in a negative light, of course).

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