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 17, 2009

Reporter's Review: Sliding on the Edge, by C. Lee McKenzie

West Side Books, April 2009
Overall Grade: A-

When her mother leaves her in a Las Vegas slum apartment with nothing but a name and a phone number of the grandmother she’s never met, Shawna decides it’s worth facing the unknown…considering how dire the known is looking. She ends up in Sweet River, California, on her grandmother Kay’s horse farm—and finds, to her dismay, that “the unknown” involves lots of chores, lots of rules, lots of beat-up trucks and plaid and denim and boring country living. It’s an easier life than Vegas, but will a wholesome lifestyle and the friendship of a hurt, neglected horse be able to help her fight the problems she brought with her?
Despite its many serious topics, not-super-original plot and often melancholic back story, Sliding on the Edge is a surprisingly gripping and uplifting novel. C. Lee McKenzie’s writing skill is significant; not a single metaphor is overused or cliché, and her characterization, particularly of Kay, is impressive. It was particularly refreshing to see a book which could so easily have fallen into the “issue” category yet managed to keep its story firmly focused on the characters themselves instead of over-emphasizing their problems alone.

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

Possibly objectionable topics*: broken family; child abuse and neglect; crude language; some sensuality; psychological issues involving cutting one’s self and attempted suicide

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