SparkNotes Literature Guides

There's so much packed into these small-sized, inexpensive literature guides the biggest liability is that your student will be tempted to forego reading the book! On the other hand, it makes them perfect for busy teaching moms. However, you choose to use them, you'll find a wealth of information including a mini-guide on writing a literary analysis paper (identical within each book) along with suggested topics and a sample essay, study questions (discussion-type questions with answers/talking points), a glossary of literary terms, and suggestions for further reading. The features you typically expect to find in literature guides are also here - content and background, plot overview, character list and analysis, key facts, (excellent) discussion of themes, motifs, and symbols as well as (equally excellent) summary and analysis. In fact, the only aspect of literature studies that I found missing is vocabulary study (too bad). However, you'll hardly notice because you'll be so busy with all the other quality content. One of my favorite features is the section that offers an explanation for a number of important quotations from the book. These are not student worktexts; although, there is a multiple choice 25-question review (with answers) in each guide. Rather, they are a study handbook for the literature selection. This series is from a secular publisher, but, interestingly, they include study guides for both the Old and the New Testament that look at these sections of the Bible from a literary perspective. There's a certain sort of balance in these studies as well as those for books that have religious themes. They neither ignore nor spiritualize the themes, just recognize that there is a reality in which these are important themes to note and discuss. Usually 90 pgs or so, pb. ~ Janice




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