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: Princess Ben, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Overall Grade: B+
Houghton Mifflin; 2008

Catherine Gilbert Murdock may have created one of the most original fairy tale princesses ever in her gluttonous, spunky, ill-behaved Princess Ben. She did an excellent job of making us feel for an imperfect character, enough to love her despite (and because of) her imperfections, and love her even more as she overcomes them. Unfortunately, the secondary characters shared neither this charm nor believability, but Ben was lovable enough to compensate. The plot was well-thought-out and creative; again, unfortunately not all aspects were as good as others. Sometimes the first-person narrator dramatized a situation at first telling, only for us to find out later that the whole issue wasn’t too big a deal, insignificant enough to be trivialized away in a sentence or two. We would have liked to see Ben resolve these issues, instead of having them resolve themselves. Overall, though: a worthwhile read.

Literary Quality: B (some anachronisms and inconsistent language detracted from style)
Plot: A-
Voice: A-
Originality: A
Descriptive Ability: A-
Humor: A
Illustrations: (none)
Believability of Characters: C (In particular, the secondary characters came across flat)
Believability of Situations: C
Overall Reading Enjoyment: A-

Possibly objectionable topics*: sorcery; “bawdy jokes”; warfare.

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