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, May 13, 2010

Reporter's Review: The Cardturner, by Louis Sachar

Delacorte; May 11, 2010
Overall Grade: A+

Alton Richards (not Richard Alton like some of his teachers call him) has always known that wealthy Lester Trapp is his favorite uncle. He loves him. At least, that's what his mother tells him to say every time Trapp and Alton talk on the phone. But when Trapp's health problems lead to his blindness and Alton is roped into being the old man's “cardturner” at his bridge club...Alton has to decide his feelings for himself—along with his feelings for Toni Castaneda, Trapp's niece by marriage and former cardturner according to most, contender for the fortune according to Alton's mom. But he soon learns that Toni might not be as crazy as his mom says, that bridge may not be as boring as he thought, and that not all coincidences are mere coincidences.
Ok, this time I'm skipping all the educated, literary-sounding praise. Getting straight to the point: I loved The Cardturner. Like Sachar's previous masterpiece, Holes, The Cardturner hides layer upon layer of meaning with the utmost subtlety...yet is so straightforward about it all that you will trust the narrator implicitly. I know my summary is slightly convoluted; a more simple way to put it is that this book is all about bridges. Yeah, the game bridge of course, which you will find delightfully, surprisingly exciting, but so much more... The bridges we build from one person to another...one idea to another... to friends, strangers, God, our own subconscious minds.
Ok, and if anyone suddenly has a strong desire to start up a bridge club after reading this (it wouldn't surprise me), I so want to be in on it.

Literary Quality: A
Plot: A+
Voice: A+
Originality: A+ (Can't get much more original than a book about bridge!)
Descriptive Ability: A-
Humor: A+
Illustrations: n/a
Believability of Characters: A+
Believability of Situations: A
Overall Reading Enjoyment: A

*Possibly objectionable topics: mild language, stories of physical abuse in a marriage, brief discussion/thought of mature topics such as adultery.


Nancy Arruda said...

We just got this into the store and I loved Holes. I think this sounds like a winner and I liked your ideas about bridge(s) Thanks!

Anita said...

Man, what a great score!