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, September 3, 2009

Reporter's Review: Here's How I See It; Here's How It Is, by Heather Hensen

Simon & Schuster 2009
Overall Grade: B+

Junebug lives in a dream world for an aspiring actress: her family owns a summer stock theatre, her father is an actor, director, and playwright—she practically gets to live in the theatre all summer long. Unfortunately, she also lives in her own dream world sometimes, imagining up her world as it should be, and is often disappointed by the way it really is. She’s not a starring actress; she’s a gofer. She doesn’t have hordes of devoted fans; she’s ignored unless someone needs a chore done. She doesn’t have a devoted family; she’s left confused and lonely when her parents decide to split up for the summer. And when a boy named Trace comes along to “help out” for the summer, Junebug feels more displaced and confused than ever as she tries to adjust to his strange ways.
Here’s How I See It; Here’s How It Is used a unique setting and format to tell a touching story, making an otherwise fair plot still intriguing. Junebug’s character and her relationship with her family was very well-crafted, although some of the secondary characters seemed cliché. (But, then, some actors seem cliché in real life…) Also, Junebug’s relationship with Trace and Trace’s own difficulties could have been developed further; I felt these elements were secondary to, instead of intrinsic in, the overall story. However, I will be forever grateful to Heather Hensen for bravely setting forth a happy ending, despite popular trends, which was completely real and unforced without the slightest bit of melodrama.

Literary Quality: B
Plot: B
Voice: A
Originality: A-
Descriptive Ability: A-
Humor: A-
Illustrations: n/a
Believability of Characters: B
Believability of Situations: A
Overall Reading Enjoyment: A-

Possibly objectionable topics*: broken family

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