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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reporter's Review: Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally), by Lisa Yee, illustrated by Dan Santat

Arthur Levine Books; September 2009
Overall Grade: A

Bobby Ellis-Chan is just a normal fourth grade boy, and like all normal fourth grade boys he has realized a thing or two: one thing is that boys and girls just aren't supposed to be friends...so he can't be seen in school with his best friend Holly. And another thing is that boys are supposed to be better than girls...so when he has the chance to run for classroom representative, even though it's against Holly, he has to take it. But when Holly, in her turn, starts to act like a normal fourth grade girl (why would someone want to wear nail polish and dresses, for goodness' sake?), Bobby's not so sure that what every normal fourth grader knows is actually right.

Bobby is one of the most realistic, entertaining boy characters I've seen in the category of contemporary realistic fiction for years (which, incidentally, means that those other boys aren't so contemporary, anymore, huh?). Every child has to live through that painful time when girls are just about ready to start acting like grown-ups, while boys, on the other hand, just want to stay kids for as long as they can...and Lisa Yee has captured that tension and dynamic extremely well. The simple, yet well-crafted language and constant humor, interlaced with the perfect amount of poignancy, make Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) a story that will be accessible and enjoyable for boys, girls, and parents alike. A great start to a new series.

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

Possibly objectionable topics*: none

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