Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Loser by Jerry Spinelli

After reading Maniac Magee and Stargirl, my daughter and I decided to read another Jerry Spinelli book, Loser. We enjoyed it, but it was very Spinelli. I guess that's what we wanted.

Donald Zinkoff is different, something that becomes more evident as he gets into middle school. Other students consider him invisible, a nothing, but he seems to be in his own world, insulated from their harsh comments by the unwavering love of his parents. Zinkoff, however, has something that other kids do not seem to have, compassion. It is this quality that others come to recognize in him and that begins to awaken his peers.

We found that the message in Loser is not as straight-forward and easily understood as in Maniac Magee. The ending was also a bit abrupt and probably has left many an 8 - 12 year old scratching their head or missing its true significance in the context of the story. The book overall is an easy read with a message for preteens, and we recommend it.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Proposed Flamingnet Content Rating System

The Flamingnet Content Rating (FCR)

Flamingnet feels that it is beneficial for readers, and those selecting and recommending books to preteens, teens and young adults, to have some idea about the sexual, drug and violent content of the books they are considering. Flamingnet Book Reviews, besides rating each book on a 1 – 10 scale depending on how our reviewer enjoyed a book, also rates each book on content. Our content rating helps people determine the appropriateness of a particular book for a particular reader or group of readers. Our content rating system does not deal with the reading level of the book, just the content of the book.

A smiley face stands for general readers, for any age. Book with this designation contain nothing that would be considered offensive. These books are generally absent of violence, sex, drugs, swearing, and crude comments.

A frowning smiley face rating means that we recommend adult guidance when considering this book. These books may contain some profanity, sexual comments, and can also deal with the issue of drugs and alcohol. Parents, teachers and librarians may want to read these books before recommending it to a student.

Books rated with a pirate smiley face rating are suggested for mature readers only, and contain material that is deemed unsuitable for children to young teens. These books can contain, sexual situations, extreme profanity, and extreme violence.

Understandably, our content rating is somewhat subjective, placed on books by our reviewers. We value your comments if you disagree with the rating of a particular book.