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An Evaluation Guide for Fiction

Books For Children 0-7


Author: Harry G Allard
Title: Miss Nelson is Missing
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Summary: The kids in Room 207 were the worst behaved kids in the whole school. They blow spit balls at the ceiling and are rude to their
teacher. One day, Miss Nelson doesnt come to school. Their substitute, Miss Viola Swamp quickly helps the children understand how
good they had it with Miss Nelson. She gives them back breaking amounts of homework, and whips them into shape. It seems like Miss
Nelson has disappeared from the face of the planet. The children decide to go to Miss Nelsons house to see if she is ok, but no one
answers. They go to the police instead, who begin looking for Miss Nelson. Just when the students in Room 207 think Miss Nelson will
never come back, they are greeted one morning by her sweet voice. The detective is now looking for Miss Viola Swamp.
Evaluation
Plot:
Believability (absence of coincidence, sentimentality, etc.)

1 10 = 10

Comment: This book is definitely believable. I know on some days, I can appreciate how Miss Nelson must have been feeling!
Major dramatic question (clear early in the book?) Yes
Comment: The question is clear from the very beginning. How will Miss Nelson teach her class to appreciate what they have? What can
she do to help them?
Other considerations (satisfactory conclusion, tension, clear conflict, etc.) 1 10 = 10
Comment: I love the tension in this book. The class obviously does not like Miss Viola Swamp, and her method of teaching. What can the
children of room 207 do to find Miss Nelson?
Style and language (precise vocabulary, figurative language, dialogue, cadence, understatement, unexpected insights, etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comment:
Pacing 1 10 = 9
Comments:
Character (dynamic protagonist, characters ring true {including cultural considerations} etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comments:
Setting: (detail, texture)

1 10 = 10

Comments: I think the illustrations in this book are perfect for the story. They tie in the scariness of Miss Viola Swamp with the way that
Miss Nelson has created her learning environment.
Theme (absence of overt didacticism?)

1 10 = 10

Comments: There are didactic lessons in this book, but they are not overtly so.
Other considerations (mood, tone, etc.) 1 -10 = 10
Comments:
Is it a well-rounded piece? 1 10 = 10
Comments: This is a very well rounded piece. The illustrations go well with the story, the lesson being learned is of huge importance.
Overall Rating (10 high; 1 low)

1 10 = 10

Comment: I rate this book 10 out of 10. I first heard of this book when my youngest daughter was in kindergarten. It had an amazing
effect on her. When I became a teacher I bought it right away. I love the lessons that children might learn in this book, from behavior and
learning to do what is right, to pulling together to form a group to look for Miss Nelson, the kids in room 207 finally figure it out.

An Evaluation Guide for Fiction


Author: Tomie de Paola
Title: Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs
Publisher: Puffin
Summary: 4 year old Tommy used to visit his family every Sunday afternoon. He would visit his grandmother Nana Downstairs then go
to visit her mother, Nana Upstairs. Tommy came to enjoy the candy and conversations that he had with Nana Upstairs, until one
morning, Tommys Mom lets him know that Nana Upstairs had died. When they arrive at Nana Downstairs house, Tommy makes a dash
for Nana Upstairs room and discovers she is gone. Tommy then starts calling Nana Downstairs just plain nana. A few nights later, Tommy
sees a shooting star. He wakes his mom up to tell her about it. Tommys mom tells him that it was Nana Upstairs giving him a kiss. Years
go by, and Tommy grows up. Nana Downstairs is old and in bed just like Nana Upstairs used to be. Nana Downstairs dies too. Tommy
sees another shooting star through his window and he thinks: Now you are both Nana Upstairs.
Evaluation
Plot:
Believability (absence of coincidence, sentimentality, etc.)

1 10 = 10

Comment: While this book has a ton of sentimentality for me, it most likely would not have any sentimentality for a child. This book is
very believable, and deals with death in concrete way, the way that a child of this age would probably deal with it.
Major dramatic question (clear early in the book?) Yes
Comment: From the beginning, as the author is painting a picture, you know that some life altering thing is going to happen. It does when
you find out that Nana Upstairs has died.
Other considerations (satisfactory conclusion, tension, clear conflict, etc.) 1 10 = 10
Comment: The tension in this book is a healthy tension. It explores the feelings a young child might have when someone they are close to
passes away.
Style and language (precise vocabulary, figurative language, dialogue, cadence, understatement, unexpected insights, etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comment: I enjoyed the unexpected insight of Nana Upstairs. It helped me to see things in a great-grandmotherly way. She was old and
didnt get around well, but she really loved talking with Tommy and sharing her candy with him.
Pacing 1 10 = 9
Comments:
Character (dynamic protagonist, characters ring true {including cultural considerations} etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comments: The characters and their interwoven relationships definitely ring true to what I would expect for each particular age group
represented in this book.
Setting: (detail, texture)

1 10 = 7

Comments:
Theme (absence of overt didacticism?)

1 10 = 10

Comments:
Other considerations (mood, tone, etc.) 1 -10 = 10
Comments: The topic of death is such a serious topic. The author deals with the subject well by painting a beautiful picture of an older
woman and her great-grandson, and the relationship they shared, and of the fact that it is ok to feel sad, and of how life moves on and
how we heal.
Is it a well-rounded piece? 1 10 = 10
Comments:
Overall Rating (10 high; 1 low)

1 10 = 10

Comment: I feel that the lessons about death in this book are so important, that every classroom should have this book, or a book like it.
No one likes to talk about it, but death is something that touches all of us. It is better to be prepared and have this book when you need it.

An Evaluation Guide for Fiction


Author: Karen Beaumont
Title: I Aint Gonna Paint No More!
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Summary: When a mother catches her young child painting on the floor, and ceiling and walls and curtains and door, she gets upset. She
puts her childs paint away, high in the closet. The young child has other ideas though. This cute story goes through naming different
body parts and painting them different colors, all while exhibiting great phonological awareness.
Evaluation
Plot:
Believability (absence of coincidence, sentimentality, etc.)

1 10 = 8

Comment: For the parent of any young child, this story is pretty believable! Im pretty sure that my son actually did this when he was 3
years old, however I dont think he put as much thought into rhyming his words together while he was doing it.
Major dramatic question (clear early in the book?) Yes
Comment:
Other considerations (satisfactory conclusion, tension, clear conflict, etc.) 1 10 = 10
Comment: The tension builds and builds until you realize that he is running out of parts to paint such a nut gonna paint my
WHAT??
Style and language (precise vocabulary, figurative language, dialogue, cadence, understatement, unexpected insights, etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comment: The Cadence of the entire book, the words rhyme and the tune is written in a sing song manner that will make you want to
sing the book instead of read it. My class actually started singing with me as I was reading this story!
Pacing 1 10 = 9
Comments:
Character (dynamic protagonist, characters ring true {including cultural considerations} etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comments:
Setting: (detail, texture)

1 10 = 10

Comments: The texture and detail are very cute. The illustrations are reminiscent of a young child when they learn how to paint.
Theme (absence of overt didacticism?)

1 10 = 10

Comments:
Other considerations (mood, tone, etc.) 1 -10 = 10
Comments: The mood and tone of this book are fun. I enjoyed the fun, childlike illustrations, and the bright colors which contrasted with
the black and white.
Is it a well-rounded piece? 1 10 = 10
Comments:
Overall Rating (10 high; 1 low)

1 10 = 10

Comment: Over all, I give this book a 9. I loved the colors being used and the phonological awareness that this book brings. I think it is a
great addition to any classroom library and will add a fun aspect to your day.

An Evaluation Guide for Fiction

Books For Older Children


Author: Judy Blume
Title: Freckle Juice
Publisher: Yearling
Summary: Andrew is jealous of Nickys freckles. Andrew thinks that his mom wont be able to tell when his neck is dirty if he has
freckles. When Nicky finds out that freckles are something you are born with, he is saddened, Sharon seems to have all the answers, and
gives Nicky a recipe for a concoction that will give him freckles. Nicky makes and drinks the horrible drink, and becomes very sick so
sick that he misses school and his mom makes him take a horrible tasting medicine. Once he is feeling better, Nicky doesnt want to
return to school, freckle less, and admit defeat to Sharon. In an effort to convince his classmates that he now has freckles, Nicky draws
dots all over his face with a blue marker. Miss Kelly catches on to what has happened and tells Andrew how perfect he is without
freckles. She tells the class of her freckle remover potion and saves the day for Andrew.
Evaluation
Plot:
Believability (absence of coincidence, sentimentality, etc.)

1 10 = 8

Comment:
Major dramatic question (clear early in the book?) Yes
Comment: The major dramatic questions in the story were clear. Will the freckle juice recipe help Andrew achieve his dream of freckles?
How will Miss Kelly help Andrew out?
Other considerations (satisfactory conclusion, tension, clear conflict, etc.) 1 10 = 10
Comment: I loved the conclusion of this story. Miss Kelly definitely saves the day.
Style and language (precise vocabulary, figurative language, dialogue, cadence, understatement, unexpected insights, etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comment:
Pacing 1 10 = 9
Comments: The pacing of this story is just right. I feel it moves at a great pace and might actually help reluctant readers become engaged
in a book.
Character (dynamic protagonist, characters ring true {including cultural considerations} etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comments: I enjoyed Andrews character. He just wants to fit in in a way that makes him unique. I also enjoyed how Miss Kelly watched
out for Andrew and was aware of what was happening between the children in her class. Sharon is definitely an interesting character.
Setting: (detail, texture)

1 10 = 7

Comments:
Theme (absence of overt didacticism?)

1 10 = 10

Comments: I do not see any overt didacticism in this book. There are definitely valuable lessons that can be learned from this story:
Lessons about trust and who you can turn to when in need of help.
Other considerations (mood, tone, etc.) 1 -10 = 10
Comments: The mood and the tone of this book are fun. They leave you feeling excited in parts, sad in other parts. This book will take the
reader on an adventure of emotion.
Is it a well-rounded piece? 1 10 = 10
Comments:
Overall Rating (10 high; 1 low)

1 10 = 10

Comment: I give this book a 10 out of 10. The characters in this book are very well written and show many emotions and situations that
children this age might be dealing with. I think it is definitely a great book for any classroom with older children, and might be a great
book to read together as a class, which is what my 3rd grade teacher had us do with this book.

An Evaluation Guide for Fiction

Author: Scott ODell


Title: Island of the Blue Dolphins
Publisher: HHM Books for Young Readers
Summary: An Indian girl named Karana, is evacuated from her island home, after the Aleuts wreck havvock on her tribe. She abandons
ship when she realizes that her younger brother has been left behind. Her brother is killed shortly afterward by a pack of wild dogs. She
then makes herself a promise to seek revenge. As she killed several of the litter, her compassionate side has a quick change as she decides
to befriend the leader of the pack, to make him her own. Later, the Aleuts return and as Karana watches their movements closely, she
finds herself with a girl who later becomes her friend. When her friend, Tutok, leaves, Karana realizes how lonely she has become. Rontu
dies shortly afterwards, killed by a devilfish. Sad and lonely, Karana comes across a puppy with features very similar to Rontu. She
decides to keep him and name him Rontu-aru, meaning son of Rontu. Two years later, the ship returns and takes her to the mission in
Santa Barbara, California.
Evaluation
Plot:
Believability (absence of coincidence, sentimentality, etc.)

1 10 = 10

Comment: This book is very believable. It is based on a true story!


Major dramatic question (clear early in the book?) Yes
Comment: In this sad story, you are left wondering why Karana doesnt try to leave the island. Why doesnt she try to find her family?
What will happen to her? Will she make it off the island?
Other considerations (satisfactory conclusion, tension, clear conflict, etc.) 1 10 = 10
Comment: There is a lot of tension in the book. Once you find out that she is leaving the island, the tension breaks and you feel such relief
for Karana.
Style and language (precise vocabulary, figurative language, dialogue, cadence, understatement, unexpected insights, etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comment:
Pacing 1 10 = 9
Comments: There were parts of this book that seemed to move slowly, but my attention was quickly grasped when something occurred.
For example: When Karana befriends Rontu, and when the Alueuts return for the final time.
Character (dynamic protagonist, characters ring true {including cultural considerations} etc.)

1 - 10 = 10

Comments:
Setting: (detail, texture)

1 10 = 10

Comments:
Theme (absence of overt didacticism?)

1 10 = 10

Comments: There is no overt didacticism in this book.


Other considerations (mood, tone, etc.) 1 -10 = 10
Comments: The tone of the story is serious with bits of loneliness mixed in. For example, Karana was very lonely after Ramo dies. She
becomes even lonelier after Tutok leaves and Rontu dies. The tone changes to hopeful once Karana sees the red sail out in the distance on
ocean.
Is it a well-rounded piece? 1 10 = 10
Comments:
Overall Rating (10 high; 1 low)

1 10 = 10

Comment: Overall, I give this book a 9. The book is very believable and very interesting. Karana made it seem like she knew how to
survive in the wild and dangerous conditions. When the time came, Karana knew what she had to do: Join the rest of civilization. This

An Evaluation Guide for Fiction


book explores the feelings of isolation which is something that children of reading age for this book might be going through. I think it is a
great addition to a classroom library.