Apr 5, 2010


I like writing book reviews but it's hard work for me. It's a fine craft and one I'd like to become better at, so I keep writing because I believe that's how I can become a better reviewer. Reading reviews is another way and I do more of that than I do writing. I've been seriously reading reviews of children's books for about 25 years, first as a bookshop worker, then many years as a children's book buyer and head of collection development for library wholesalers and now as a freelancer. I began writing them only 5 years ago and have alot to learn. There are many reviewers I admire, some review for print publications and some are bloggers. I admire their writing style and their evaluative sense. I consider K.T. Horning's Cover to Cover the definitive guide to evaluation and refer to it all the time.

Over the past couple of weeks the word trope has showed up in a number of reviews I've read. The first time I read it, I had to look it up. (From Merriam-Webster -- 1 a : a word or expression used in a figurative sense : figure of speech b : a common or overused theme or device : cliché ) Just yesterday I read a Facebook post that remarked "watch those tropes" with a link to an enlightening Salon article about overused words in reviewing and Book Review Bingo, a new game to play so you can test yourself. I'm off to play now -- hmmm, maybe I'll post my score.

Question: I bet the words used in the game are ones found in reviews of adult books. Are there different words that show up more frequently in reviews of children's and ya titles?

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