From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books
by Kathleen T. Horning
HarperCollins, February 1997
As a librarian, I've had myriad opportunities to review children's literature on the fly, in the form of booktalks and newsletter reviews, but it wasn't until I started writing this blog last year that I've looked critically at my skill as a writer and reviewer. Reading From Cover to Cover was a gift to myself to help me write better and more informative reviews, and I highly recommend all bloggers do the same.
From Cover to Cover is written in a friendly, readable style, using a format designed for easy reference. It uses all the best features of nonfiction to guide the reader to the information she is looking for. Horning begins with an explanation of how children's books are published, the parts of a book and various categories of children's books. Then she methodically covers each type of children's literature: nonfiction, traditional literature, poetry, picture books, easy readers and transitional books, and fiction. She concludes with a short chapter on writing a review.
One of the nicest elements of From Cover to Cover is the use of mentor texts to exemplify each aspect of children's literature. Horning has a long, juicy list of recommended titles in each chapter. I can see I'll have to devote a chunk of my summer to reading all those books!
I was thrilled to see that From Cover to Cover will be released this April in a revised edition! You can bet I'll be picking up a copy to have on my reference shelf.
Horning has received multiple awards and commendations, including the 2009 Scholastic Library Publishing Award. She is a former president of ALSC and a Newbery Award chair. She is currently director of the CCBC and will be delivering the May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture this year.
- Awesomeness: 8 - an excellent resource for all reviewers.
- Wordsmithing: 7 - written simply and clearly.
- Mesmerizitude: 8 - I breezed through these 200+ pages in a day, but came away full of ideas.
- Factfulness: 9 - superior content, both presentation of elements of literature and recommendations of exemplary texts.
Labels: 2010, nonfiction, professional, review