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.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Time Has Come...Newbery Predictions 2010

2009 has drawn to a close, and with it have closed the covers of many, many wonderful books. But now, with the announcement of the most coveted medal in American Children's Fiction only a week away, it's time to revisit a few of the best.
Last year, I didn't write an official post on my predictions; The Graveyard Book was my untouchable pick for best book of the year--yet, somehow, I didn't think in a million years the Newbery committee would choose it. I did guess that The Underneath and Savvy would end up with stickers, though, so my record is pretty good.
Knowing the Newbery committee's flair for being unpredictable, I'm probably about to ruin said good record...but here (in order of when I read them) are my Newbery picks:
Umbrella Summer, by Lisa Graff. Very sweet, very well-written. Not on the top of my list for literary quality and plot, but the emotional story is rock-solid and wonderful.
The Year the Swallows Came Early, by Kathryn Fitzmaurice. Not much chatter on this one that I've seen (who knows, that may be in its favor), but I thought it was a beautifully written, moving story with the type of emotional pull that always seems to earn stickers.
Heart of a Shepherd, by Rosanne Parry. I have so much respect for this book and its author. I love, though sometimes the Newbery committee doesn't seem to, the type of truly uplifting ending this story has.
Tropical Secrets, by Margarita Engle. A beautiful novel in verse with a fresh angle on old history.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly. A lot of people loved this. I liked it a lot. I do think it may win something, and I have even higher hopes for whatever the author's next work might be.
When the Whistle Blows, by Fran Cannon Slayton. This is the book I believe should win the Newbery. Whenever someone scoffs at the quality of children's literature, I'm going to smile to myself and hand them this book.
A Season of Gifts, by Richard Peck. The greatest obstacle for this book to overcome will be the author's repuation and its "prequels". Both the previous Grandma Dowdel stories earned stickers, both were wonderful, so the latest has a lot to live up to. Its plot wasn't as strong as its predecessors'...but the overall literary quality, the crafting of each sentence and paragraph and chapter, are enough to earn it an award, in my book.

I'd love to know your thoughts! Any glaring omissions? Anything I should hastily read before next Monday?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For you readers who are interested, I realized that a few of the above mentioned books can actually be found on Google books... So for those of who haven't read them yet, go check them out!!!!