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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Reporter's Review: The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, by Rodman Philbrick

Overall Grade: B
Blue Sky Press, 2009

Well, it seems war is a popular theme for children’s books in 2009, and Rodman Philbrick’s The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg is waving the flag on the Civil War front. The title character is a twelve-year-old orphan living with his older brother and cruel uncle-in-law in a little town in Maine. But when his brother is illegally sold as a replacement for a rich draftee to the Union Army, Homer must rise to the occasion and be the man of the family. He runs away to save his brother, and there his adventures begin.
While Homer’s adventures are worthy of a Mark Twain short story (perhaps we could throw in a couple jumping frogs?), they are nonetheless moving. The horrors of the Civil War are related with laudable attention to the sensibilities of the time and the narrator’s unique personal voice.
Note must be made that while this was certainly a thoroughly researched historical novel, it does contain one or two glaring anachronisms in speech. In addition, the dialect is perhaps a little overdone at times, and the author seems slightly prone to use of overdramatic phrases. Nonetheless, a very entertaining and enjoyable read that is sure to be devoured by boys and girls alike.

Literary Quality: B
Plot: A-
Voice: A-
Originality: B
Descriptive Ability: A
Humor: A
Illustrations: n/a (Although the cover…! Our condolences to the author…)
Believability of Characters: B+
Believability of Situations: B-
Overall Reading Enjoyment: B

Possibly objectionable topics*: many gory war details; child abuse/neglect

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