Writing about Literature

We often use reviews to decide if we are going to buy a toy, our next APP, or where to go and eat.  Books get reviews, too.  These help people decide if they are going to read them or buy them.

The library reads reviews to decide if the book should be included in the library collection.  Mrs. Mayo reads review for every book bought for the library.  Each book should have at least one positive review with some having even more.


What do you think of this review?

School Library Journal (November 1, 2013)

K-Gr 2-Despite the enticing title and cover art, this book falls flat. The plot is not cohesive; it’s just different scenarios for how to outwit pirates. Ostensibly organized into three sections-“Pirates of the High Seas,” “Pirates in Fresh Water,” and “Pirates in the Bathtub”-few of the scenarios relate to the headings under which they fall. The majority of the solutions presented are neither accessible nor empowering for young children (spray the pirates’ flag with white paint, give them lots of rum, and steal their weapons). The text is stilted and jarring, wavering between prose and forced verse. “A pirate might have a peg leg made of wood./Saw it off and he won’t clop as far as he could./Other pirates have a sharp hook where there once was a hand./Use it to hang them up wherever you command!” While the illustrations are delightfully amusing with the roguish pirates and crazily grinning children, they add to the confusion. In the first two thirds the children are considerably smaller than the pirates, but in the final section the pirates become inexplicably tiny and terrorize the children in their homes. The final spread shows two children dressed as pirates amid utter mayhem, and the text suggests that when getting in trouble, “Say it wasn’t you, it was the pirates!” While the idea of pirate play getting out of hand is a good one, the text is too contradictory to make it sail.-Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, White Bear Lake, MN (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


How about this review?

School Library Journal (April 1, 2012)

K-Gr 3-After Barnett and Rex introduce themselves, readers meet Chloe, the main character. The story progresses smoothly until Mac writes that a huge lion leapt out at Chloe, and Adam draws a dragon instead (he “just thought a dragon would be cooler”). A fight erupts over artistic vision, with the author firing the illustrator and having the lion swallow him whole. He then introduces a new artist who can “illustrate a brilliant story written by a true genius.” The new illustrator does not work out as hoped, though, and nor do Mac’s attempts to illustrate the book himself. Finally Chloe takes command and sets off on a fairy-tale-inspired quest to save the story and Adam. The illustrations are pitch-perfect: claymation for the author and illustrators and cartoon for the story characters, who act out their parts on a proscenium stage. The result is an elaborate prank on the picture-book genre, and it comes together in playful harmony. Chloe is an engaging youngster, sporting blue braids, owlish glasses, and a pith helmet. Children old enough to understand the constructs of a book will delight in the comedic deconstruction, and adults will enjoy the references to traditional tales, from King Arthur to Frankenstein.-Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

How to write a review:

While writing a review you must consider the author’s audience and purpose.

    1. Title and Author
    2. Short Summary
    3. Your opinion of the book – Did you like it or not
    4. Why?
    5. (Your name and your partner’s name – Your teacher)


Your Turn:

  1. Pick out one of the books off the table.
  2. Read it with your partner.
  3. In your writing journal or on a piece of paper, write your review.
      • Title and Author
      • Short Summary
      • Your opinion of the book – Did you like it or not
      • Why? (Did the author reach his audience and achieve his purpose?)
      • (Your name and your partner’s name – Teacher name)
  4. Mrs. Mayo will review your post before it appears.