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.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Reporter's Review: Winnie's War, by Jenny Moss

Walker Books; February, 2009
Overall Grade: A-

1918: A world war is killing the boys abroad…but at home in Coward Creek, Texas, a feared epidemic is attacking all without discrimination and Winnie is determined to save her family from contracting the deadly Spanish Influenza. Between her controlling, irritable grandmother, her silent father, her traumatized mother, and the possibility of losing her best friend, Winnie has a lot to deal with, but her courage and stubbornness serve her well in her own battle to hold her family together.
Winnie’s War is written in a lovely, engaging style, sharing aspects of L. M. Montgomery’s or Eleanor Estes’ literary qualities. Jenny Moss’s portrayal of the era of the First World War was very real and engaging, and her book escaped becoming depressing as one might expect of a book about sickness and death. The plot was fairly simple and some minor secondary characters could have been more developed; however, Winnie herself is a delightful protagonist, very strong and appealing, and the more important secondary characters are unusually complex and believable.

Literary Quality: A
Plot: B
Voice: A
Originality: A-
Descriptive Ability: A-
Humor: n/a
Illustrations: n/a
Believability of Characters: A (A+ for Winnie, Clara, Mr. Levy, and Winnie's parents, B+ for the others...)
Believability of Situations: A+
Overall Reading Enjoyment: A

Possibly objectionable topics*: death and illness, one secondary character with intense emotional disturbances

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