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.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reporter's Review: The Year the Swallows Came Early, by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

Harper Collins, February 2009
Overall Grade: A

Groovy Robinson knows exactly what she wants: to go to cooking school; wear a tall, oval chef’s hat; learn the exact amount of time to cool a cake before frosting it; make lemon zest fall from her grater like confetti. And another thing: to keep her family together—even if her superstitious mother claims that the zodiac signs predict unavoidable failure. But when her father is arrested, her mother admits to turning him in, and Groovy discovers that his crime is gambling away her inheritance, all her dreams seem to crumble at once. It takes some sturdy friends, a handful of insight, and many trays of chocolate-covered strawberries to help Groovy along her path to understanding, forgiveness, and moving ahead.
Kathryn Fitzmaurice is a brilliant writer with a unique, but comfortable voice which practically propels you into her characters’ lives and fortunes. Every character, and every scene, is true-to-life and completely tangible, and the descriptions and metaphors of daily life are stunning. Once you begin reading Groovy’s story, I defy you to ever forget her.

Literary Quality: A
Plot: B+ (As a character novel, it is light on plot, but nicely constructed)
Voice: A
Originality: A
Descriptive Ability: A+
Humor: A
Illustrations: n/a
Believability of Characters: A+
Believability of Situations: A
Overall Reading Enjoyment: A

Possibly objectionable topics*: broken families, superstition, gambling (However, these serious issues are dealt with in a subtle, graceful way, reminiscent of Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie…they are serious, but not oppressive.)

No comments: