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From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books

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From Cover To Cover is a fresh, up-to-date look at some of the best examples of children's literature today, and also includes practical advice on how to write clearly articulated, reasoned opinions so that others can learn about books they have not yet read.It includes: - a short explanation of the process of making a children's book from manuscript to final bound book - From Cover To Cover is a fresh, up-to-date look at some of the best examples of children's literature today, and also includes practical advice on how to write clearly articulated, reasoned opinions so that others can learn about books they have not yet read.It includes: - a short explanation of the process of making a children's book from manuscript to final bound book - a description of the importance of the many different parts of a book (jacket flaps, title page, copyright, Cataloging-in-Publication information, etc.) - six thought-provoking chapters that explain how to think about and critically evaluate several different genres of children's books: - books of information traditional literature (myths, legends, tall tales, folktales) poetry, verse, rhymes, and songs picture books - easy readers and transitional books - fiction - a concluding chapter on how to write reviews that are both descriptive and analytical From Cover To Cover is an invaluable resource for all professionals who wish to write book evaluations that go beyond a simple personal response.This definitive guide to reviewing children’s books makes it effortless for parents, teachers, librarians, children's literature students and general readers who are interested in becoming children's book reviewers to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a children’s book. An authoritative reviewer in her own right, Kathleen Horning provides practical guidelines for reading critically, evaluating an initial response, answering questions raised during the first reading, putting a response into words, balancing description with criticism, and writing reviews for a particular audience.


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From Cover To Cover is a fresh, up-to-date look at some of the best examples of children's literature today, and also includes practical advice on how to write clearly articulated, reasoned opinions so that others can learn about books they have not yet read.It includes: - a short explanation of the process of making a children's book from manuscript to final bound book - From Cover To Cover is a fresh, up-to-date look at some of the best examples of children's literature today, and also includes practical advice on how to write clearly articulated, reasoned opinions so that others can learn about books they have not yet read.It includes: - a short explanation of the process of making a children's book from manuscript to final bound book - a description of the importance of the many different parts of a book (jacket flaps, title page, copyright, Cataloging-in-Publication information, etc.) - six thought-provoking chapters that explain how to think about and critically evaluate several different genres of children's books: - books of information traditional literature (myths, legends, tall tales, folktales) poetry, verse, rhymes, and songs picture books - easy readers and transitional books - fiction - a concluding chapter on how to write reviews that are both descriptive and analytical From Cover To Cover is an invaluable resource for all professionals who wish to write book evaluations that go beyond a simple personal response.This definitive guide to reviewing children’s books makes it effortless for parents, teachers, librarians, children's literature students and general readers who are interested in becoming children's book reviewers to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a children’s book. An authoritative reviewer in her own right, Kathleen Horning provides practical guidelines for reading critically, evaluating an initial response, answering questions raised during the first reading, putting a response into words, balancing description with criticism, and writing reviews for a particular audience.

30 review for From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bethe

    Where was this book when I was in library school? As much as "The Book Whisperer" guides teachers in the "how" and "why" of inspiring lifelong readers as children, this book details the "what" and "why". So much has changed in the production and quality of children's literature since I was a child, even in the 20+ years I have been in the educational field. Needing a professional book to finish our school's million word genre challenge, I recently picked this up. I was looking to polish my Where was this book when I was in library school? As much as "The Book Whisperer" guides teachers in the "how" and "why" of inspiring lifelong readers as children, this book details the "what" and "why". So much has changed in the production and quality of children's literature since I was a child, even in the 20+ years I have been in the educational field. Needing a professional book to finish our school's million word genre challenge, I recently picked this up. I was looking to polish my reviews for Goodreads, and help to articulate why I liked a book, and to improve my readers advisory. All language arts teachers should read this book, even if serious review work isn't in their futures. Understanding the characteristics of the different genres, what to look for in a quality book, even the science behind the eye muscles in the development of early readers are all interesting and beneficial topics. I especially enjoyed the poetry chapter, perhaps finding validation for hating it so much growing up - too much emphasis on structure and not enough on enjoyment!! The book also discusses the topic of a "third grade" book, a big worry that some students often tune out reading at this critical age. Read Jan 2014, Jan 2015, Jan 2016, Feb 2017 Pick up something new each time I read this!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    Evaluating and reviewing children's books is something I do a lot. I could benefit from reading this book, I thought. I was disappointed to find that the first seven chapters are really just explanations of all the subgenres within children's literature, and that it is only the last chapter which actually hits on what the title purports to do. Even in the last chapter there was not a lot of new ideas for this long-time reviewer of children's books. Maybe it would be a better read for someone Evaluating and reviewing children's books is something I do a lot. I could benefit from reading this book, I thought. I was disappointed to find that the first seven chapters are really just explanations of all the subgenres within children's literature, and that it is only the last chapter which actually hits on what the title purports to do. Even in the last chapter there was not a lot of new ideas for this long-time reviewer of children's books. Maybe it would be a better read for someone just starting out in this world.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Agnė

    I definitely agree with the blurb on the back cover, which claims that From Cover to Cover is "the definite guide to reading, reviewing, and critically evaluating children's books." It was used as a textbook in three of my graduate program classes! Since it's written in an accessible language and covers the basics of children's literature (the publishing industry, the parts of a book, different categories and their history, main aspects, examples, and evaluation criteria), From Cover to Cover is I definitely agree with the blurb on the back cover, which claims that From Cover to Cover is "the definite guide to reading, reviewing, and critically evaluating children's books." It was used as a textbook in three of my graduate program classes! Since it's written in an accessible language and covers the basics of children's literature (the publishing industry, the parts of a book, different categories and their history, main aspects, examples, and evaluation criteria), From Cover to Cover is a great resource for anyone new to the field of children's literature. But I'm sure even those who teach from or about, review, or purchase children's books on a regular basis would benefit from reading and rereading this insightful and practical handbook. I only wish that some topics or categories were explored more deeply (graphic novel, for example), but I guess that's too much to ask of a relatively slim book that attempts to cover everything that children's literature has to offer. Oh, and the book gets a little bit dull if you actually attempt to read it from cover to cover, but it works great as a reference tool.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lindley Walter-smith

    More two and a half stars. Not terribly useful - of a very slim volume, a lot was taken up with explaining the anatomy of books (ISBNS, end papers) and not enough, I felt, about the issues you would actually need to consider when evaluating books for collections or reviewing them. Also, some of the genre divisions and explanations seemed... a bit off. In general, the non-fiction sections seemd better than the fiction sections. It did make me nostalgic for a time (maybe that never existed) in More two and a half stars. Not terribly useful - of a very slim volume, a lot was taken up with explaining the anatomy of books (ISBNS, end papers) and not enough, I felt, about the issues you would actually need to consider when evaluating books for collections or reviewing them. Also, some of the genre divisions and explanations seemed... a bit off. In general, the non-fiction sections seemd better than the fiction sections. It did make me nostalgic for a time (maybe that never existed) in which librariands had the lesiure to read multiple reviews to consider adding just one book, instead of hurriedly picking off lists or, more likely, outsourcing selection.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lawrence

    I’ve been reading this in preparation for the Morris Seminar next week. I learned so much about evaluating children’s books! I wish I had read this in grad school, and incredibly valuable read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elliot

    A must-read for anyone working with books and kids.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Poff

    This book contains some useful advice on what to consider when evaluating children's books, and a wealth of references to worthwhile children's books, but it was fairly dull. Too much time, I felt, was spent on tangential issues, such as details of publication, what are endpapers, what is the difference between a printing and an edition, and so forth. While of course it is useful to know the right terms to use when discussing a book, and some insight into the publishing process can be helpful, This book contains some useful advice on what to consider when evaluating children's books, and a wealth of references to worthwhile children's books, but it was fairly dull. Too much time, I felt, was spent on tangential issues, such as details of publication, what are endpapers, what is the difference between a printing and an edition, and so forth. While of course it is useful to know the right terms to use when discussing a book, and some insight into the publishing process can be helpful, ultimately this feels like it takes up a disproportionate amount of space in what is a fairly short book. My other major criticism is that the wealth of references to children's books, which I mentioned above, is both a strength and a weakness. For example, Horning spends some time discussing how the illustrations in a picture book should support and enhance the text, using Goodnight Moon as an example. For readers unfamiliar with that book, this discussion will be far less helpful. Not too big of an issue with such a very popular book, but many other, less well-known books are mentioned as good examples of a type, without a great deal of explanation why--it would be necessary to acquire and investigate each of these books to understand the points Horning makes. From Cover to Cover is useful, but doesn't stand alone as a complete guide to evaluation and review of children's books.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Barb Middleton

    I’m pretty clueless when it comes to blogging. This blog is meant to help me remember all the books I’ve read, get students excited about reading, and inform parents or teachers about books. That said… Kathleen Horning’s book, From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books, is not about blogging but it is about evaluating books in a professional way. What a great tool for helping me know what to look for when evaluating books, why books are written and categorized in certain I’m pretty clueless when it comes to blogging. This blog is meant to help me remember all the books I’ve read, get students excited about reading, and inform parents or teachers about books. That said… Kathleen Horning’s book, From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books, is not about blogging but it is about evaluating books in a professional way. What a great tool for helping me know what to look for when evaluating books, why books are written and categorized in certain ways, and how I can write in a way that is useful to my audience. Chapters are divided by fiction, nonfiction, and picture books. The depth and history of publishing, as well as examples of excellent reviews and books, is extremely helpful to me as a teacher and librarian. I picked up information I didn’t know in every chapter and have referred to it when writing my most recent reviews for this blog. At least that’s the gist of it. Now I just have to practice, practice, practice. Great reference book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    So far- clearly written, good info, some is a basic review but still helpful for writers who: like to read critically for their own art, or who: blog about and review books themselves. :) Ch 4 Poetry, Verse, Rhymes and Song, and Ch 5 The Picture Book -both sections well done. Others also informative, though perhaps not as in depth. Perhaps because I write MG Fiction, and have spent more time studying it, I found the Fiction section a bit weaker. A picture book writer might say the same about the So far- clearly written, good info, some is a basic review but still helpful for writers who: like to read critically for their own art, or who: blog about and review books themselves. :) Ch 4 Poetry, Verse, Rhymes and Song, and Ch 5 The Picture Book -both sections well done. Others also informative, though perhaps not as in depth. Perhaps because I write MG Fiction, and have spent more time studying it, I found the Fiction section a bit weaker. A picture book writer might say the same about the PB section. :) But the material was well and clearly laid out, and a great jumping off point. Definitely a helpful start if you are going to blog about or review books!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    From Cover to Cover is an excellent resource for anyone who talks about, reviews or purchases children's books. It has clear and concise chapters on every type of children's book: nonfiction, poetry, chapter books, picture books, etc. While the subtitle states this book is about evaluating and review, the majority of the book is on evaluating books. Reviewing doesn't come in until the final chapter. Not that it is a bad thing. The information in the evaluating chapters is great. Horning goes From Cover to Cover is an excellent resource for anyone who talks about, reviews or purchases children's books. It has clear and concise chapters on every type of children's book: nonfiction, poetry, chapter books, picture books, etc. While the subtitle states this book is about evaluating and review, the majority of the book is on evaluating books. Reviewing doesn't come in until the final chapter. Not that it is a bad thing. The information in the evaluating chapters is great. Horning goes into the history of the literature, the different parts, what you should look at and how to evaluate it. She even gives examples of excellent books in each genre. Great resource and very helpful.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I've been reading this for my Materials, Literature and Collection Development for Children and Youth class. I'm marking it as read even though I've only looked at a few chapters for the course. But I did purchase this book so I'll be using it as a reference tool at my current librarian trainee jobs as well as once I've graduated from the library science program and have a librarian job.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    eaI am using this reference/information book for my Materials for Children class and I also used it in the Materials for Young Adults class as part of the GSLIS program at Dominican University (River Forest, Il.). An excellent resource for evaluating children's/young adult books, both fiction and non-fiction. Also, a great source for help in writing reviews of these books.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    I think we read all the chapters for class...not in order... Good book that goes over the different types of children's literature and how to evaluate them. Kind of seemed like common sense for me, but that might be from years of teaching and loving books. Will probably hand on to for reference.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Murray

    This book is for those who are in Youth Services of a library or work with Children's literature. Ms. Horning breaks down the components of various forms of books for young readers: picture books, early reader, graphic novels, non-fiction, and children's fiction. She also includes a final chapter on how to write professional reviews. I read a of few of these chapters as graduate school requirements and found it interesting so I decided to buy the book. This book would have better served me as This book is for those who are in Youth Services of a library or work with Children's literature. Ms. Horning breaks down the components of various forms of books for young readers: picture books, early reader, graphic novels, non-fiction, and children's fiction. She also includes a final chapter on how to write professional reviews. I read a of few of these chapters as graduate school requirements and found it interesting so I decided to buy the book. This book would have better served me as whole while I was in school, because most it is known knowledge to me now. A good source for those entering the Youth Services or Children's literature field.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    There were some helpful things to think about in this book, although there were also some overly basic things that I skimmed over. Sometimes the author seemed a bit smug and pretentious though, so maybe that was why I didn’t get super excited about it. Also, since this book was written before the internet was really a thing, I’d be curious to know what she would have to say about blogs and online reviews and how that has changed the culture of book reviewing.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary Beth Str8K

    This was a companion textbook for a Children's Lit class for LMS. I found this book informative and useful, especially when used in conjunction with the Vardell's Children Literature textbook. The chapter on writing a book review was helpful. The description of the various genres is simplistic, but in this day and age when books can cross genres, the definitions are helpful when combined with other textbook's definitions. This is a reference book, I'll be keeping.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I read this for my YA Lit class so I am skeptical, despite promises from my professor to the contrary, that it will be particularly relevant. That being said, it was interesting to learn about the history of children’s books, and to start thinking of them both in a critical way, and as a useful learning tool for kids. I particularly enjoyed the last two chapters, which I can see having a broader applicability beyond children’s literature.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    A handy book, but most of it focuses on the parts of a book and genre characteristics. Only the last chapter explores in-depth how to actually prepare effective book reviews. With that said, the book is quite informative about children's literature overall, but it misses the mark when it comes to living up to its name.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I first read this in 2014! It is a must-read for any children's librarian who wants to understand how to evaluate books.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    a great overview of the topic of children's books!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    Very helpful and informative.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    A helpful resource for evaluating childrens books at various reading levels and writing professional book reviews.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen Mary

    Great book to guide you in evaluating and writing book reviews for children's books. Useful for librarians and students in the Library Science program.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Randi Kennedy

    An excellent and accessible guide to the different kinds of childrens books and how to evaluate them.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steve Tetreault

    This is a very accessible text to help readers understand the underlying elements of children's literature. Great for classroom teachers and children's librarians!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joy Rancatore

    Each chapter of Kathleen T. Horning's From Cover to Cover equates to a course in some aspect of children's books. Study each one and you will graduate with a degree in children's literature--or at least feel as accomplished as you would if clutching that diploma. When I began reading this book, I expected good information presented in a manner worthy of a good snooze; however, Horning delighted me by revealing in an exhilarating manner realms of the world of children's literature of which I Each chapter of Kathleen T. Horning's From Cover to Cover equates to a course in some aspect of children's books. Study each one and you will graduate with a degree in children's literature--or at least feel as accomplished as you would if clutching that diploma. When I began reading this book, I expected good information presented in a manner worthy of a good snooze; however, Horning delighted me by revealing in an exhilarating manner realms of the world of children's literature of which I have--until now--been unaware. I found myself tingling with anticipation at the new lessons each turn of the page revealed to me. Horning breaks down each form of writing for children and dissects every part--text, illustrations, design, marketing, audience, etc. In addition, she intersperses a fascinating history of the genre while referencing key players in its emergence as a valued and irreplaceable category. From Cover to Cover is both an overview of each type of children's book and a detailed examination of every component a reviewer should recognize and note in whatever title he or she may choose to read. One of the details she outlines concerns illustrations. Horning's detailed description of what to look for and expect makes even an untrained eye like mine much more keen and discerning to artwork within picture books and chapter books. I now view these pictures in a completely different manner. Thanks to this in-depth tutoring in illustrations, I understand that the artist's decisions on everything from the medium used to the direction and width of the lines to the arrangement of the finished product on the page combine to produce specific effects integral to the revelation and flow of the story. As Horning writes, "...nothing ever happens accidentally in a picture book." (113) Two things are certain: I will never read a children's book the same way again; and, after reading this book, I will be a better writer of children's literature as I learn to review my own work with a more educated and objective mind. I highly recommend this book to anyone with children or who read to children; all writers (regardless of genre); librarians, teachers and others who work with books for children; and serious readers who write informal or formal book reviews. My favorite quote from this book comes from page 164: "The thrill of discovery is the great promise a book holds for a reader."

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    This book was optional for my 610 class and required for a class I intend to take in the Spring, so i decided to read it while i could, and then I couldn't stop. It was amazing. I was proud of the review I had to write for my reference class last spring, and my ability to identify good books, but this book showed me how to express this so much better. The break downs into categories for literature is so wonderful to see. I can see myself really using the things I was thinking about. Though I This book was optional for my 610 class and required for a class I intend to take in the Spring, so i decided to read it while i could, and then I couldn't stop. It was amazing. I was proud of the review I had to write for my reference class last spring, and my ability to identify good books, but this book showed me how to express this so much better. The break downs into categories for literature is so wonderful to see. I can see myself really using the things I was thinking about. Though I expected it to be a book focused on reviewing (which I think of as writing these reviews) really it seems to be more about the critical evaluation, the last chapter on writing reviews was good, but can be covered in many places. Breaking down children's lit to it categories though and seeing how those parts can be further broken down. Reading about how the categories came about and when they changed will be an absolute asset. I love to see how things evolved because nothing comes from a vacume. It clarified some of what I found while investigating pre-literacy, when readers came about and why the term early literacy suddenly first appeared on the back of a little bear book. (The I can read series was the first of its kind after Dr. Suess wrote Cat in the Hat to create the concept of a "first book" for new readers. The science of the eyes that go into easy readers and the controlled vocabulary reminds me why my daughter "who might want to read other books" really needs to be starting with certain books if only to teach her eyes to read. (it is hard when you know she wants different stories, but physically needs certain line length and sentence structure for her brain to hold it all at once.) I think this book will stick with me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bert Becker

    Horning, Kathleen T. (1997). From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books. New York, NY: Harper Collins. Citation by: Bert Becker Type of reference: Handbook Call Number: Ref Teacher Professional library section Content/Scope: This handbook is a great way to look at childrens books. It allows you to preuse many books and see which one works best in the classroom for indepentdent needs. It is a great book to have at your side. It looks at a wide variety of books and topics from Horning, Kathleen T. (1997). From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books. New York, NY: Harper Collins. Citation by: Bert Becker Type of reference: Handbook Call Number: Ref Teacher Professional library section Content/Scope: This handbook is a great way to look at childrens books. It allows you to preuse many books and see which one works best in the classroom for indepentdent needs. It is a great book to have at your side. It looks at a wide variety of books and topics from poetry to fiction to rhynmes. It gives ways to assess the students and what to assess them for. Accuracy/Authority/Bias: Information is present from the author's point of view and may have some bias'. The information about each of the books listed are accurate. Arrangement/Presentation: Information is arranged in very teacher point of view. It is sectioned off depending on the genere it is discussing. It then gives ways to assess students are using that particular children's book. It is easy to access the glossary which lists the books that are being reviewed. Relation to other works: This book was in the teachers professional section of the library and their is not anything else their that compares to it. Accessibility/Diversity: This book is written for elementary teachers and it covers a wide variety of books that can be used for diverse students and the diverse needs of the classroom. It can be used to find books that meet each students needs. Cost: $12.50 Professional review of the item: Horning, Kathleen T. (1997). From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books. New York, NY: Harper Collins

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dolly

    This book is part of my required reading for one of my MLIS courses. It has short, informative chapters that really help to identify quality writing and essential components of different genres of children's literature. The section on writing a review was particularly interesting for me, as I have spent a good portion of my life for more than eight years logging the books I read and posting reviews here on Goodreads. I never attempted to be a professional reviewer; I just wanted to jot down some This book is part of my required reading for one of my MLIS courses. It has short, informative chapters that really help to identify quality writing and essential components of different genres of children's literature. The section on writing a review was particularly interesting for me, as I have spent a good portion of my life for more than eight years logging the books I read and posting reviews here on Goodreads. I never attempted to be a professional reviewer; I just wanted to jot down some of my thoughts about each book I read (with or without our girls) and, if nothing else, serve as a database that I can reference (and I often do!). interesting quote: "The proponents and producers of formula series books launched a verbal attack on children's librarians, claiming that since they were mere women (and spinsters at that), they had no right to judge what was fit reading for red-blooded American boys." (p. 151)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sammis

    From Cover to Cover by Kathleen T. Horning offers guidelines for selecting and reviewing books for children. I read it as a textbook for the materials for children ages 5 to 8 course I took. The book, though covers books from infancy through young adult. The book has three main parts: how to gauge a child's readiness for certain levels of books, recommendations by different topics and finally the nuts and bolts of writing reviews. Horning shows how to judge a child's reading level, even for the From Cover to Cover by Kathleen T. Horning offers guidelines for selecting and reviewing books for children. I read it as a textbook for the materials for children ages 5 to 8 course I took. The book, though covers books from infancy through young adult. The book has three main parts: how to gauge a child's readiness for certain levels of books, recommendations by different topics and finally the nuts and bolts of writing reviews. Horning shows how to judge a child's reading level, even for the youngest, based on a few language assessments you can do. I tried the technique on my daughter and realized she was ready for Level 1 easy readers. The book review section is most useful for people planning to write for print publications, like Library Journal or similar. There are some techniques that apply to blog writing but blog reviews tend to run longer than the suggested length in From Cover to Cover.

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