Monday, December 29, 2008

Flattery Can Get You a Review


I've never done a book review on this blog. Or any review of any kind, for that matter, unless it was a product that I already use myself; like tampons, pancake mix, or various beauty products. In other words, stuff you'd find lying around my house. I've never done a review when solicited and I've had my fair share of offers over the last few months. The reason for that is two-fold [and really I just wanted to say two-fold because I like to sound important]:

  1. This just isn't that kind of blog. If you're looking for product reviews, there are literally thousands of blogs already dedicated to that.
  2. What if I accept and am disappointed in whatever it is that was to be reviewed? Do I go ahead and exercise brutal honesty? Am I obligated to write the review regardless? Or do I act as if I never received the product and then stonewall whomever it is that sent it by not answering? Or do I notify the solicitor and say, look, it kinda sucked, should I say that or should we pretend this never happened?
  3. It has to be worth my while: I'm not opposed to doing a review for a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas for a family of five.
As far as number one goes: I use this blog for my entertainment and yours. And who needs the kind of stress that number two offers? I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and no one wants to be hurt. And number three? A PlayStation 3 would be nice too. So I've declined. Or flat out ignored [which is rude, I know, but again with the hurt feelings thing].

A few of weeks ago I received an email from author and teacher, Phillip Done.
Dear Tootsie,
Congratulations on being chosen for All Top's Mom Bloggers! Three of my mommy blogging friends told me to not even bother e-mailing you because your blog is on the All Top's List. But I decided to write to you anyway. My name is Phil Done. I'm an award-winning elementary school teacher in Palo Alto, CA (www.phillipdone.org) and author of 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny: Life Lessons from Teaching. Since you are a mother of three, I thought that you might get a kick out of this glimpse into the elementary classroom. The book, which is very popular with parents, is a humorous and poignant collection of essays covering a year in third grade. May I send you a copy? Ideally, I'd love a review on Vintage Thirty. Even if you don't want a book, could you e-mail back so I can tell my three friends they were wrong. :o) Thanks so much! I look forward to hearing from you.
Best,
Phil Done

You see that? That's a triple dog dare! And I am a mother of three, one of whom is a third grader, and? Bonus points for incorporating the smiley face emoticon. So I answered him, he sent me a book, and his friends bought him dinner. Everybody wins.

The book is a collection of observations and experiences in the third grade classroom from a twenty year teaching veteran. I volunteer in Boy-Child#2's third grade classroom every week and this book is pretty spot on. It's 288 pages of everything your child does in class. Or doesn't do. It shows how valuable a good teacher is and how that teacher can make a difference in a child's life. Or visa versa.

The chapter that had me laughing out loud is dedicated to those parents [we all know at least one] and is the main reason I never became a teacher. That and I'm not that crazy about other people's kids which is kind of a drawback if one wishes to teach. Children. I mean, I have to visit my tremendous place of courage just to tolerate my own some days. So moderate amounts of cash thrown in my general direction to spend the day with thirty non-blood related kids does not sweeten the pot.

If you're the parent of a third grader or older, you'll appreciate this book. If your children are still too young or are approaching third grade, use it as a guide and heed the warnings. For instance, did you know that your child's teachers know way too much about you? Kids talk. About everything.

P.s. Disney, call me.

25 comments:

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Tootsie: Excellent! And? I love all three of your two-fold reasons for not doing reviews.

Phil: I have a third grader. I'm ordering two books on Amazon right now. One for my daughter's teacher, and one for me.

Disney/Sony: What have we learned today? Give Tootsie a cruise/Playstation. Now. You'll sell me at least two in return.

Kelly said...

Um yeah, my aunt is an elementary school teacher and I spent a day in her classroom when I was an education major. I changed my major to theater almost immediately.

Martie said...

Now I can use that Barnes & Nobles gift card I got for Christmas. I am mother/stepmother to 8 kids. And I used to be a "teacher" for 14three year olds. Life around kids is a huge pain in the ass--but also the most rewarding. Who else is gonna say "Yub loook soooo purdy" even when you have poop on your hands and spagehetti sauce hand prints on the back of your shirt? Thanks. Thanks for being a blogger...

Amy said...

Thanks for reviewing. I'm going to Amazon now. :)

LuckyMe said...

I recently subbed for a very "energetic" 3rd grade class. I'm buying this for my friend who teaches them every day.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

He picked a good reviewer in you--since I read you and I'm in a teaching program with 27 other future teachers and I will tell them about this cool book I heard about. He's a smart one.

kcinnova said...

Does that make your reasoning trifold?
I have a 3rd grader, plus 3 more older ones. At the parent-teacher conference in October, I learned that my son chats with the teacher during recess. Now I wonder what they talk about besides their love of the outdoors...
I was an English major and classroom bound until I began thinking about other people's children. Preschoolers can be cute in 2-hour doses; school-age kids in 7 hour doses? I think not.

Manic Mommy said...

I'm going to check it out on BN.com. Good luck with that Disney cruise!

Stephanie said...

That's why you homeschool. That way, no one knows nothing.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

I get all that email crap too and this author was an exception because the email seemed much more personal, like he made an effort. I don't do product reviews, and hesitate to do book reviews because that's not what my blog is about, unless I can somehow work it into my blog's style, which takes more work than a normal book review, and which, by the way, you have magnificently done.

Lee the MWOB Queen said...

Oh I think it's cool to throw in a review once in a while....it's refreshing. In a way. Especially if you like it. If we like reading you, we'll probably like what you like - or maybe that is too much of a jump? Hmmmm....

Anyway - sounds like a cool book - my oldest of three is in first grade. So I'm close - I may get the book.

Happy New Year!

P.S. My word verification is suboxhu - I feel like I'm gonna have good luck in '09 with that word. It feels like a prediction of sorts. Very mysterious. I know that's random but I have a thing going with these words - but who doesn't?

apathy lounge said...

I wonder if it would even help me since two of mine are in college and the last one home is in high school.

Queenly Things said...

Well, I work in the same district as the author, I'll have to look him up. I will say that there are LOTS of opportunities for contact with "those" parents in our district. It does take someone special to see humor in the experiences.

g said...

Boy oh boy. I will say that one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life is volunteer for a kindergarten class. So I am always awed at good teachers. And good parent volunteers.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

If I were Disney, I would so call you.

stephanie (bad mom) said...

Nicely done; you really are a rock star mom/blogger/reviewer.

I started out in elementary ed and quickly (as in after Day 1 of my practicum) switched to secondary. Teenagers I can tell to shut it and no one cries. Or, conversely, we can discuss topics I'm actually interested in like love, hate, sex and politics.

Mr. Phil is a wise & brave man on many fronts.

OHmommy said...

That book sounds awesome, even more so after his cute email to you. I wish I read this before Christmas as I would have gotten it for some teacher friends.

I have been wanting to write a Disney post FOREVER. LOL.

Preston said...

Excellent post. I've never written anything (that was published in book format) other than a poetry book I put together in my teens and wrote out by hand. And I don't work for Disney or Sony so I can't offer you a trip or a Playstation. (Is it Playstation III now?)

Anywho, I have a friend who teaches special education to grades K-3. Now that takes one dedicated person to do that!

The Introvert said...

Apparently I keep endorsing people for free because I'm a schmuck. they should start giving me free stuff. Proactiv did call me though when I wrote about how slow they are at sending me stuff, and that freaked me out completely.

calicobebop said...

OMG - "tremendous place of courage?" Where exactly is that?

I'm afraid that mine is at the bottom of a magnum of Chardonnay. Did I just say "magnum?" I meant "bottle."

Ah, yeah. Happy New Year!

JCK said...

I believe Disney will be calling.

Great review. And I am with you on your reasons for not reviewing. But, glad you dissed that to do this.

My brother lives in Palo Alto and has 3 kids -maybe they know Phil. I'll have to check it out.

pogonip said...

As we say in kindergarten, there ARE no secrets...but we say it with a smile and reassurance that we are nothing if not discrete. In fact, discretion will probably get me my ticket to heaven!

Amanda said...

I had to come back to tell you that I ordered this book (because you said so) from B&N where it was on sale. It is ADORABLE. Parents and teachers have to read this. We so need to appreciate those teachers who put up with our little angels all day!!!

Muddlin' Mother said...

I've read this book and it is really cute and a fun little read. BUt then, so is Skinny Bitch. Pick yer poison.

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