14 June 2007

Reviewing Book Covers—Just the Covers

I stumbled onto the strange and unusual Judge a Book by Its Cover website this week. It declares itself "the internet's premier website for book reviews and synopses based totally on the book's cover. . . . none of our highly qualified reviewer even read the books they review."

For instance, about Maurice Gee's The Fire-Raiser, reviewer Christine Brown writes:

The Fire-Raiser is a book about a young boy named Alex, who lives in the South West with his Uncle Sam raising horses. Though he seems normal in the beginning of the book, you later find out he has some mysterious powers.

Alex enjoys being with the horses and hanging out with his friends. Everyone gets along with him unless he gets mad. When he's mad it seems as if he is going to burn things to pieces with his eyes. Nobody understands why or how he gets so mad. . . .

The Fire-Raiser is a strange and confusing book. Maurice Gee, the author, uses a lot of Sci-fi drama to confuse readers. It is a strange book because the author doesn't explain how the characters gets control of their powers.

2 out of 5 stars.
The Fire-Raiser actually describes a small New Zealand town about a century ago dealing with an arsonist. But some kids would probably prefer to read this version, with Alex's fiery eyes. Won’t they be disappointed!

Perhaps Judge a Book by Its Cover exists as plagiarism bait. Teacher who get book reports cribbed from it can be certain that the students haven't read the books and simply stumbled into the same insights and opinions as found on the web.

No comments: