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.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Reporter's Review: Faith, Hope, and Ivy June, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Delacorte; 2009
Overall Grade: A-

A few miles can make a big difference--or maybe not so big... Ivy June Mosley of backwoods Thunder Creek and Catherine Combs of affluent Lexington are chosen for a Kentucky exchange program where each girl is able to spend two weeks in the other's home to see "life on the other side" of the mountains. While both facing their own personal dramas and family problems/disappointments, Catherine and Ivy June are able to learn that while lifestyles may differ, humans face the same problems everywhere you go.
Faith, Hope, and Ivy June was a very good example of a book which focuses on its setting; both Thunder Creek and Lexington were portrayed believably and visually, while also creating an emotional connection with the reader for the place as well as the characters. Not to belittle the characters, for they were the heart and soul of the story and Ms Naylor did a wonderful job of filling her cast with memorable, lovable, and complex human beings. The main aspect that seemed to be lacking was the emotional intensity in the plot; while a lot of "big" things, serious and potentially life-altering things, are happening, it felt as though they were not developed to their full emotional potential. Everything, except the final climax, resolved itself quite quickly, leaving me as a reader with the feeling that the conflicts would have been more suited to a shorter book. However, partially because of this, it is a story that can be recommended to a younger reader with a sensitivity to too much tension--while still able to be enjoyed by older children and adults as well.

Literary Quality: B
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*: family conflicts, corporal punishment

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