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.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Reporter's Review: Umbrella Summer, by Lisa Graff

Harper Collins, June 2009
Overall Grade: A-

Annie is afraid of everything: bugs, germs, heights, speed, bikes, obstacle courses—and the dead-brother-look that people have given her every since her older brother Jared died of a rare heart disease. As far as Annie is concerned, she has to be careful…because, after all, you never know what could happen. Your parents don’t know. The doctors don’t know. It takes a whole crowd of friends and neighbors to help Annie learn that being too cautious can keep you from just being yourself.
Lisa Graff’s Annie is a character you just want to hug (except she probably wouldn’t let you if you show any of the many symptoms of laryngitis), and who can make you laugh and (if you’re the emotional type) almost cry.
Our biggest complaint: Why do so many writers try to force Charlotte’s Web into books about death?? (And please do comment; we really want to know!)

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

Possibly objectionable topics*: death of sibling


GirlwiththeBraids said...

I have never read Charlotte's Web but maybe it was a book close to the author's heart. I know a lot of authors say they try to bring in everything they love into a book that somebody else can love.

Annie was an adorable and likable main character and I loved this book! :)

The Book Reporter said...

Thanks for the comment!
I suppose my confusion is why Lisa Graff chose in this case to emphasize the message of her book with another book, when she had already done it so well through her own plot and characters. It felt...unnecessary.