Thursday, March 19, 2015

Can I review this book or movie?

A very important step before you do a movie or book review is to find out if someone else is already doing it. It would be foolish to put all that time and effort in and then put it up on the site and have me say, "Um, sorry, that one has already been taken."

The other thing you should do is decide before you see the movie or read the book that you are going to review it. That way, you can keep track of the things you'll want to mention and also make sure you know the names of characters and other details.

Trying to remember it later doesn't work very well.

But before you get to that point, of course, you have to choose a book or a movie.

The basic rules are these:

1. It has to be appropriate for kids under 14.

It's okay if it's kind of PG-13, but you have to say so in the review.

"This movie has a lot of action and violence that isn't appropriate for kids under 11," or maybe "... for kids who get upset by that sort of thing."
"This novel is best for kids 12 and over, because the plot is very complicated."

2. It has to be new, and by "new," we mean "within the last six months."

How can you tell? Here are two easy ways:

For a book:

Go to and look it up.

On the page where the possible choices are, you'll find your book and its publication date:

Or you can go to the actual page for the book and find it there:
Then do the math. Don't worry too much about exact dates.

In this case, it was published very early in October, so figure the book is good until April, 2015. If it were October 27, you could "round it off" and use November to start, and say it was good until May.

If it's in the middle, like the 12th or 17th, just figure "the middle." (See the next example!

With movies, but now you're going to, and you'll find the release date here:

So "Monkey Kingdom" would be good until about the middle of October.

If the expiration date is close, of course, it means you can't waste a lot of time, particularly with films.

In fact, if it's a movie that has a lot of action and special effects, you should do it very, very soon after it is released so that it's still in theaters.

One more thing

Watch out for older books and movies that are being re-released. If they just bring out a new paperback of "Little House in the Big Woods," that's a wonderful book but it's not new and we wouldn't do a review of it.