April 22, 2017

Guest Blog: Writing a Review

Children's Writer's World warmly welcomes book reviewer Elizabeth Tipping.

I’m delighted to be writing a guest post for Children’s Writer’s World! I regularly post book reviews on my blog, 2 Cooks Crafting Books:  https://2cookscraftingbooks.wordpress.com/author/2cookcraftingbooks/ 
I’d like to share my process for reviewing and the style of review you’ll find on my blog.

My first step is to identify the book I want to review. Since my goal is to share “great books,” I am picky about what I include on the blog. This means I do A LOT of reading! Fortunately, my kids would rather read with me than do almost anything else, so we do a fair amount of reading in my house. Plus, I love reading on my own.

If I’ve read a book with one (or both) of my kids, one of the things I look for in deciding whether it should be featured is how my child responded to it. My kids will sit through a technical manual if it is being read out loud, so I want to see something more than attention from them.

Last night, for example, my daughter and I read the fantastic BOB, NOT BOB! by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick. BOB, NOT BOB! is “To be read as though you have the worst cold ever” since that is the condition that poor Little Louie finds himself in. So, although we were at a restaurant, I read the appropriate passages as though I had “the worst cold ever.” Once my daughter got control of her laughter, she kept stopping me so that she could call across the table to her older brother to listen to the book. That’s a hit, for sure!

In my review, I provide a bit about the story—without ever giving away too much about what happens. In BOB, NOT BOB!, Little Louie’s cold is making him have a “weird, all-wrong, stuffed-up voice.” Every time he calls for his mom, it comes out “BOB!” Louie’s family also has a dog named Bob, who comes running when Louie calls.

When Bob (the dog) arrives, Louie shouts, in his stuffed-up voice: “NO! I wan by BOB, not BOB! BOB! BOB! BOB!” Although I can’t replicate it here, when Louie shouts BOB! and means his mom, the O has a heart in the middle. When it is BOB! the dog, it is a normal O. It’s a lovely way to help young readers figure out which BOB! Louie really means.

When I’m done describing the book (which may also include such things as character, point of view, or illustrations), I take some time to research the author. I always try to give a little information about the book’s author, and occasionally the illustrator. This section also includes the address for the author’s website or blog, and why someone might want to check out the author’s website (if there’s something extra offered, such as activities or teaching guides).

BOB, NOT BOB! has two authors: Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick. Ms. Scanlon’s website is www.lizgartonscanlon.com. There, she has teachers’ guides for all of her books (some of the guides have crosswords, games, and crafts included!). Ms Vernick’s website is www.audreyvernick.com and it includes a link to her blog.

Finally, I conclude every review by asking for recommendations of other great books to read. We are all enriched by sharing great books with one another!


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