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 2, 2008

Reporter's Review: Ever, by Gail Carson Levine

Overall Grade: B
Harper Collins; 2008


Take a plot hook á la Percy Jackson, add a best-selling Newbery-honoree, and you have the basic recipe for success with Gail Carson Levine’s newest book, Ever. Now don’t get us wrong, the book wasn’t terrible by any measure—but it was a letdown considering our expectations. The plot involves Kezi, a young girl from the land of Hyte, and Olus, the young god of the winds from Mount Akka. The twist: Kezi worships Admat—the One God—but through a tragic (and admittedly well-written) chain of events, is vowed to be offered as human sacrifice to her Lord. When she begins to fall in love with Olus, her faith is tested, but Olus devises a plan: Kezi must fulfill the test to become a goddess herself—that way, she can still be sacrificed, but never actually die. From a plot point of view, the end was disappointing. So, Kezi becomes a goddess—but she had to completely change herself and give up her family to do so. Maybe we just expected something more encouraging from the author of be-true-to-yourself Ella Enchanted. We were left feeling that Ms. Levine sacrificed something herself: meaning. By pushing an exciting, twisty plotline, she missed the opportunity to portray a meaningful message through her characters. The only message we were left with was: life is confusing, so don’t believe anything.
On a final note, we feel we should explain our grade of the voice. Technically, it wasn’t bad, except it seemed far too young for the Young Adult category that the book was placed in due to its subject matter. However, the author risked telling the story from two points of view, back and forth—and this flawed it. The voices individually were both fine—but they were exactly the same. Unless you payed close attention, you would forget who was speaking when. All the thoughts could have come from the same mind…which kept us from ever forgetting that, of course, they did.

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

Possibly objectionable topics*: semi-graphic violence including human sacrifice; bawdy innuendos; subject matter dealing with a multitude of gods and doubt in an omniscient God.

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