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: Wings, by E. D. Baker

Overall Grade: D
Bloomsbury; 2008

So, obviously you can tell by the grades that we didn’t enjoy this book very much. It can be difficult to be objective without sounding mean, but please believe that we offer this report not to put down the author but to provide her book with the only completely honest critique she may have received up to this point.
Let us begin by saying first of all that E. D. Baker’s Wings had some decent plot points. Unfortunately, the first half of the book did not reflect that, and it was over half-way through the narrative before anything other than the desire to finish the book made us want to keep reading. She had two main characters: Tamisin, a half-fairy, and Jak, a half-goblin. Once she started to show us Jak’s viewpoint, the story gained an interest that was lacking in Tamisin’s story. Presumably, Ms. Baker’s book was directed toward a female audience, but that is no reason to begin a story with a less interesting character, simply because she is the same gender as the majority of readers. Throughout the book, there is a strong tendency toward the predictable and cliché, particularly in descriptions and character reactions; however, one or two quite good metaphors or lines of dialogue proved that Ms. Baker is capable of better. We would suggest—and this is a suggestion we proffer to all authors—that in future manuscripts, she elicit the help of a good critique group to help point out these failings, as it can be hard to see the obvious in something that has been staring you in the face for months. A fresh perspective always helps, as does forcing yourself to read your book, as one author said, as though it were not your own: force a fresh perspective on yourself. Having created a world like the one in Wings, we are sure that E. D. Baker has enough imagination to do so.

Literary Quality: D
Plot: C+
Voice: C-
Originality: C
Descriptive Ability: F
Humor: D
Illustrations: (none)
Believability of Characters: D
Believability of Situations: F (As in all fantasies, we are not referring to the fantastical situations, but the believability of the characters’ reactions to these situations and the logical progression from one situation to the next)
Overall Reading Enjoyment: D

Possibly objectionable topics*: pregnancy outside of wedlock; mild violence.

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