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.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Reporter's Review: Freaky Monday, by Mary Rodgers and Heather Hach

Harper Collins, May 2009
Overall Grade: B-

In this modern sequel/rewrite to the “old classic” Freaky Friday, Mary Rodgers and Heather Hach did an incredible job of entertaining their audience and incorporating great humor. The characters were totally lovable and mostly believable, and their problems were ones that we can all understand and feel sympathy for—probably because we’ve experienced them ourselves. We wish we could give this book a better grade, because it really was enjoyable, but in the end, we felt kind of…well…cheated. It had a really unique plot—in fact, there’s only one other book we’ve read that was anything like it…oh, yeah: Freaky Friday. In fact, it was pretty much exactly like it, barring the new characters. But, if you really really loved that book or movie, you’ll enjoy this one, too.
I did have one question regarding believability, if anyone cares to comment: does any 7th grade teacher really assign To Kill a Mockingbird? It hasn’t been such a long time since Middle School…but I don’t recall any Harper Lee in the curriculum.

Possibly Objectionable Topics: none

Literary Quality: B-
Plot: C
Voice: B+
Originality: D
Descriptive Ability: B
Humor: A-
Illustrations: n/a
Believability of Characters: A-
Believability of Situations: B
Overall Reading Enjoyment: A-

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Reporter's Review: 3 Willows, the Sisterhood Grows, by Ann Brashares

Overall Grade: A-

Delacorte Press; 2009

Our reading for 2009 got off to a great start with Ann Brashares' newest Sisterhood book, 3 Willows, the Sisterhood Grows.  While this novel has a whole new cast of characters, they are all as unique and lovable as the original 4 (who you will find mentioned in little, interesting cameos if you're a fan missing your book-friends!) and they are sure to win a fan base of their own. 

While this book is certainly very serious and addresses many serious issues that may or may not be familiar to the average teen today, the author handles them with a sensitivity and hope for the future that turns an "issue book" into an inspirational book.  The writing, particularly the voice and character development, is spectacular, and makes the fairly mundane plot flow quickly and enjoyably along.  As with the other sisterhood book, you feel as if you have a private window into the characters' lives, and you will definitely want another look once you're finished...so here's hoping for a sequel.

Literary Quality: A-

Plot: A- (it's more of a character book)

Voice: A+ (great ability to maintain 3 unique voices through the novel)

Originality: B

Descriptive Ability: B

Humor: B

Illustrations: (none)

Believability of Characters: A+

Believability of Situations: A+

Overall Reading Enjoyment: A