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, July 20, 2009

Reporter's Review: Fortune's Folly, by Deva Fagan

Henry Holt; April 2009
Overall Grade: A

Princesses in dire peril…a prince with a destiny to fulfill… an all-knowing fortune teller: seems like the recipe for a perfect fairy tale. Unless, that is, you are that all-knowing fortune teller—and not only don’t you believe your own fortunes, you don’t believe in fairy tales at all. Fortunata, the shoemaker’s daughter, is satisfied concocting fake portions to keep food on her father’s plate after he loses his wife and all his creative ability. But under the influence of an evil master, she is tricked into giving a prince a prophecy she is sure won’t come true…and she soon finds out that she is bound to see it does. If Fortunata is not able to help the prince fulfill his destiny (a.k.a. her prophecy), her father’s life will be taken. As she struggles to make the fortune come true, Fortunata learns that perseverance, a little wit, and a lot of love can be more powerful than magic itself.
Fortune’s Folly is, first and foremost, a very enjoyable book to read, full of all the great characters and action and true emotions you could hope to find in an original fairy tale. But Deva Fagan’s construction of plot and her clever allusions to many old fairy tales take the book to a higher level, far above the average fairy tale retelling. Like its plot, there are a lot of pieces to this story itself: action, romance, intrigue, characters…and each one fits seamlessly. Fans of fairy tales aren’t the only readers who will be fascinated and delighted with this excellent debut novel—the writing makes for a story that crosses and transcends genres and can be appreciated by everyone.

Literary Quality: A
Plot: A
Voice: A
Originality: A+
Descriptive Ability: A-
Humor: A (though limited, what’s there is good)
Illustrations: n/a
Believability of Characters: A
Believability of Situations: A
Overall Reading Enjoyment: A+

Possibly objectionable topics*: some scary moments and violence

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