In ELA, we learned about the criteria of a book review by studying reviews done by Kirkus and School Library Review, to name a couple. Once we had read a few mentor texts and noticed what good reviewers did, we began to write a book review for "Freak the Mighty", a class novel that we read in the fall. We broke down our review into 4 parts: introduction (nugget), summary, evaluation (opinion), closing (the verdict). We moved from shared write to independent writing for each part of the summary.
We moved from shared write to independent writing for each part of the summary. Students chose a novel to review of the independent write. After MUCH revising and editing, students have each published (or almost published) their own reviews which I will be posting to the blog and in our school library so that we encourage (or discourage) our peers to read the texts that
we have been reading.
Here is what we thought of Freak the Mighty:
Book Review: Freak the Mighty
Author: Rodman Philbrick
By: Room 205
A novel as intriguing as it’s title, Freak the Mighty is a powerful and uplifting story of two unlikely heroes who become fast friend despite their very obvious differences. Max, an abnormally large, dim-witted teenage boy lives with his grandparents, Grim and Gram. With a father in prison and a deceased mother, Max’s life is anything but a fairytale until Kevin (Freak), a pint-sized genius, moves in next door. Together, they go on adventures where they embark on quests, “slay dragons”, and return purses to damsels in distress. With Freak on Max’s shoulders, they become Freak the Mighty and a life-changing friendship is formed.
Readers will find Max and Freak bizarre yet inspiring as author, Rodman Philbrick tells their compelling story of friendship and overcoming adversity in a young adult novel that does not disappoint. His ability to pain pictures with words brings the characters, and the world they live in to life. With plot twists, although somewhat predictable, at seemingly every turn of the page, Philbrick is still able to keep his audience at the edge of their seats. Readers should be aware of some vocabulary, though likely chosen intentionally, may make them feel uncomfortable.
VERDICT: A recommended book for readers who adore adventure and suspense. This novel, despite it’s lack luster cover, should be in every middle school’s library, “and that’s the truth, the whole truth, the unvanquished truth…is how Freak would say it…” (Philbrick, Rodman)