I have been very lucky to have been reviewed by many national and international reviewers and never take getting reviews for granted. Now that so many people can review books on sites like Amazon I am cautious of looking. I think people forget that they are reviewing work that is done by other people and writers have feelings too. And sometimes you need to have thick skin.
It is a fact that many people, and I am one, only remember the bad reviews.
Today press cuttings arrived from my publisher including a review in Books For Keeps. If I had been packing these up in the office I think I would have removed this one. I read it. I thought about it, and here is my response. But first, the review, or a part of it . Two thirds of the review is taken up with an abridgement of the storyline as the reviewer interprets it.
" While the illustrations are lovely, the reader may struggle at times to follow the narrative and make sense of it. Clearer textual connections would help draw us in, especially at the beginning. The language is at times lyrical, at times stilted and the text is quite small on the full colour double page spreads- a larger font would add visual appeal. A slightly disappointing read given the dramatic illustrations."
I have thick skin, like a dragon. Just as well.
I could do a short review of the review and suggest that paraphrasing the story is not the best use of space, and neither is reviewing a book that you do not like. It is a little pointless. Also the balance of type and image is carefully thought through and this being a story for older people the text did not have to be large. ( Obviously I also have a soft underbelly like a dragon.)
On the otherhand in Carousel Magazine a short review says,
" This book is written, illustrated and published with loving care. Set in the polar regions of the Arctic the story is magical; easily understood text and stunning illustrations merge to carry a powerful message that we must care that our actions do not endanger the lives of wild creatures."
Two reviewers, one book.
You cannot please all of the people all of the time.
I sometimes review books on Amazon, if they are something that I have loved and wish to share my passion for. I sometimes review for magazines. And I never ever give a book a bad review because I know, even if I do not like a book, the passion with which each and every author and illustrator works.