September 27, 2009

Review of "Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind" by Phillip Done

SynopsisA twenty-year veteran of the classroom, elementary school teacher Phillip Done takes readers through a lively and hilarious year in the classroom. Starting with the relative calm before the storm of buying school supplies and posting class lists, he shares the distinct personalities of grades K-4, what he learned from two professional trick or treating 8-year-old boys, the art of learning cursive and letter-writing, how kindergartners try to trap leprechauns, and what every child should experience before he or she grows up.

These charming, sweet, and funny tales of Mr. Done's trials and triumphs as an award-winning schoolteacher will touch readers' hearts and remind them of the true joys of childhood. We all have that one special, favorite grade school teacher whom we fondly remember throughout our adult lives - and every teacher also has students whom they will never forget. This is the perfect book for teachers, parents, and anyone else who is looking for a lighthearted, nostalgic read.

What can I say about Phillip Done's recounting of his elementary school teaching years except that it was a fun, fulfilling read?  

Mr. Done's writing is what I assume his teaching style to be like - - lighthearted, humorous and entertaining.  I was drawn into his book from the first page, partly out of curiosity for the teaching profession and partly due to his "getting to know you" style.  I can imagine that reading Mr. Done's book is akin to sitting down with him over dinner and letting him talk about all his third grade adventures. 

He begins with right before school begins, with the summer ending, and each section is a different month of the school year.  Everything from Back to School Night, where the seasoned teachers know to hide from the excitable students and their talkative parents, to never letting your profession slip while buying school supplies to the dreaded Picture Day. 

I found myself chuckling with reminders of my own school days - - the plastic combs given out on Picture Day, the show and tell (or what is now called "Sharing"), learning cursive writing, adventurous spelling and those crushes on classmates. 

If you get nothing else out of this book, the memories are worth reading it alone.  I dare you to read this book and not remember your own third grade teacher, or the best friend you had, a favorite outfit from that school year or the little boy (or girl) you had a crazy crush on.    
Well done, Mr. Done.

My giveaway still has another 24 hours, so it's not too late to enter to win your own copy of this enjoyable read.  Click here to enter - - and based on the idea for "extra credit" given to me by poster Mrs. Duff, I will give any current, former or soon to be teachers an extra entry if you identify yourself.

Good luck!


Tales of Whimsy said...

Sounds really well written.


i think i like your review better than mine but if we get people excited then yea! you did a good review, my friend

Jessica said...

Great review! At first glance, this doesn't really seem like a book that I would normally go for but your review has surely piqued my interest.