I have just finished a fantastic book, called Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind by Philip Done (pronounced like phone).
I was sent this book several weeks ago with the agreement that I would do a review. Normally, I'd have finished it in a day, because it was funny and smart and had heart, in other words, a great and easy read. Then my personal life went a little sideways and it took me over three weeks to read it, which was ALL ME and nothing to do with the book.
Being that it was written by a veteran teacher, I need to find out if I'm going to fail for not turning in my assignment in a timely manner. I should. I can't do this wonderful tome to 'teacherhood' (Mr. Done's word) justice.
First of all, the chapters are short. For any parent, this is a huge bonus, especially if, like me, you like to stop reading at the end of a chapter and have a toddler running around. It also made it easy to find my place again when my son repeatedly removed my bookmark.
There were passages so humorous that I insisted on reading them aloud to my husband. There were observations on the behavior of 8 year olds that brought me back to both my own experiences and that of watching my daughter's school existence at that age. There was a chapter on one student named Michael that I dare anyone to read without tearing up.
Philip Done loves teaching and children in a genuine and unabashed way. His honesty while describing his own embarrassing moments is refreshing and humanizing. You are with him during the telling of these tales as opposed to watching from afar. You can tell he is able to draw his students in as naturally as he does us, the readers.
It touched me in ways that few books are able; in my nostalgia zone. The smiles spread across my face often during reading.
Philip Done is the kind of teacher that kids want to get and that parents pray their children will get to spend a year with. Although he never really 'toots his own horn' so to speak, his gift for teaching is obvious with each passing page.
You will not be disappointed in spending your time in the pages of this book. I dare say, you'll be quite glad you did. Personally, I found it unforgettable. Things I know will creep up on me in a few years as my own son hits third grade running, and most likely acting very much like Mr. Done's student Trevor.
Whether you're a parent or a long ago student, don't miss this terrific book.
You can thank me later. ;-)