Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind by Phillip Done ****

Try to read this fast: Bone, Cone, Clone, Done, Gone, Hone, Lone, None, One, Phone, Shone, Tone, Zone. Now you are ready for Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind, a charming book that explores the mysteries of teaching elementary school. The author, Phillip Done (rhymes with phone), teaches in Palo Alto, California. In the tradition of Kids Say the Darndest and Chicken Soup, this book mixes gems of wisdom with anecdotes of innocence.
"Who knows that this bone is called?"
"Wait, I know ... the hilarious."
"Almost. It's the humerus. Does anyone remember what these two bones are called?"
"Good. Now, who remembers the name of the second bone?"
The book is unevenly written with some of the short chapters touching and enlightening, while others are merely self-indulgent and self-obsessed. Not surprisingly, when the author remember that elementary school is about the children he excels, but when he think its about the teachers, he fails. On balance, it is an enjoyable book and a quick read.

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