Aristotle tells us in the Poetics that a tragedy needs six elements – roughly plot, character,thought, diction, music and spectacle. Now many would argue that tragedy is an odd place to start for rating fairy tales as they hardly fit an Oedipus type of model. However, I’m a theatre scholar and I am adapting these characteristics anyway for my rating system. At some point I’ll post on fairy tales and tragedy and why I justify this but for now –
Plot – Does it make sense? Is it creative or original in some way? How does it manipulate the original story?
Character – Are they interesting? Vivid? Are the motivations clear? Do they make sense with the style of writing?
Thought – How does the story interact with the themes of the original tale? What is the value in reading this version?
Diction – What is the writing style?
Music – What is the overall flow of the structure of the way the story is told?
Spectacle – Does the cover art make sense? The illustrations?
Other than that, I review books as I come across them and as I feel like revisiting them if they somehow seem like an adaptation of a classic story!