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Book Reviews of Children's Literature: Home

A book annotation or description is not the same as an evaluative review. This guide lists commonly used resources for finding book reviews of fiction and nonfiction books for youth, from preschool to teens.

A Summary is NOT a Review

A REVIEW evaluates a book, whereas a SUMMARY only describes the book. 

A review states what is good and bad about a book; it offers an opinion.  Either might suggest ways to use the book in the classroom or with students. A THEMED BOOKLIST may state or imply that all the items listed are highly recommended, such as the annual Notable Books for Children by ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children).

Which of the following SAMPLES is a review, and which is a summary only?

(A)   The author, an experienced dog trainer, talks about dogs at work and as pets. Each chapter highlights vocabulary that might be new to readers. The illustrations are full color photographs of many breeds of dogs.  There is an index, a list of projects for students to do in class, and websites for more information. For ages 10-16. ISBN 97300654321  $21.50 trade, ebook ed. available

(B)   The author, an experienced dog trainer, talks about dogs at work and as pets. New vocabulary is highlighted in each chapter but some definitions are too brief and lack examples. The full color photographs are interesting and show many breeds, but are not always placed near the corresponding text. They are inclusive of children of many cultures and both genders. The index is brief and useful. The last chapter is a list of carefully selected websites for more information and of projects for students to do in class; these features are the real strengths of the book. Each project gives links to the curriculum, what ages to use it with, a detailed list of supplies and equipment needed, and even suggests a time in the school year that is best for that project. These could have been scattered throughout the chapters, but it is easier to compare projects and choose one when they are together in one chapter. A good purchase for school libraries and middle school classrooms, and for those public libraries that serve a signifcant number of homeschooling families. For ages 10-16, although teens may be put off by the illustrations which show only preteen youth. ISBN 97300654321  $21.50 trade, ebook ed. available but not seen

ANSWER:  (B) is the review; (A) is only a summary.

Book Review Databases & Websites

We recommend these databases and websites for reviews of children's books or for lists of highly recommended books.

Some contain non-evaluative annotations also.