Friday, October 10, 2008


I love books. I always have. I remember being Ian's age and just wanting to devour books. You know, in the non-literal sense. My grandpa once sent me a whole set of Trixie Belden Books for my birthday and I read them in two days. I still love curling up in bed with a good book, reading late into the night.

My favorites in 3rd grade were The Neverending Story by Micheal Ende -you remember the movie- and Momo by the same author- both originally in German. (If you didn't know already...I grew up speaking German and didn't learn to speak English fluently until I was about 7 or 8 years old.)

Both of these books really made me think.

I remember going to the book fair at school during fourth grade after I moved to the States and wishing with all my little heart that my mom would buy me those books on display in the library. I remember Judy Blume books like Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing, and the Ramona Quimby Series by Beverly Cleary. My mom neverl et me buy these. But she did let me ride my bike to the library all summer long to check out as many books as my library card would allow.

Although I am cheap, and Ben is cheaper still, I decided two years ago when Ian got his first Scholastic Book Order Form in Kindergarten, that my kids should have the privilege of buying "those books" just because I didn't. So we became fans of Scholastic! At first Ian was choosing cute books by Dr. Seuss and Eric Carl, and other favorites like Magic School Bus and Magic Tree House books.

Over the years, Scholastic Book Orders have become a little more annoying. The boys started wanting books with Star Wars and Indiana Jones and Captain Underpants in the title. While not the best choices, at least these books have a plot. However, the latest requests have been Pokemon Guidebook and Test your Video Game IQ! The latter was Ian's choice for this month. I a) tried to talk him out of it, b) refused you pay for it, c) tried explain to him that this does not necessarily qualify as a good book and d) conceded when he insisted on using his own hard-earned allowance to buy it!

Side note -I think Video Game IQ is my new favorite oxymoron.

And don't even get me started on the non-book junk they offer. They even sell video games, which, to me, are the complete opposite of books - neither educational or imaginative, frying brain cells left and right.

This item was truly alarming...


1. How early do we really need to introduce texting? Ian is in 2nd grade and is still learning how to actually spell words.
imo txtng isnt the bst thng vr to hapn 2 the englsh lngj

2. It costs $20! It would take Ian four months to earn that kind of cash.

3. It's practically encouraging kids to text each other in class. What teacher wants that going on?! in second grade!?

"Shhh...this pen really writes but it's also a texting device!"

4. It only works up to 10 feet away??? Can't you just talk?

5. It looks like a pregnancy test.

I'm ready to quit Scholastic. Maybe my mom was on to something.

Okay, really there still are a lot of good options with Scholastic and there's always the library...
Please share your favorite children's books in your comments!


M+H said...

The only book I really really remembered loving was Sarah Plain and Tall. I read it again in high school because I had to write an essay comparing my favorite childhood book to my favorite high school book or something like that. I wasn't so sure what intrigued me so much about it, but it's still a great book! Hey...come to think of it...doesn't the man in the book have kids and then in walks Sarah...maybe it was because it was my DESTINY! :)

Anyway, I totally agree about Scholastic...they always do a book fair at Spencer's school during Parent Teacher Conferences, and last year we told him we'd buy him a book. What did he choose? The Pokemon Handbook. This year he chose Pokemon again, however, he chose a chapter book that actually has a relatively decent plotline. It's a double chapter book (one book from the front, and another from the back). So I was glad to see that Pokemon has evolved into something better, even if Scholastic has not!

Anisa said...

I agree with you totally. Texting is bad, Pokemon is bad, video game IQ... huh?

Do you have DI's in California? I would buy kids books there.

My kids are still little so they love Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle.

rubberbandgirl said...

I was just looking at that pregnancy test-texting contraption in our book order. Baaaaaad idea!
Dane is loved/loves the Magic Tree House books, but finishes them in an hour or two. I'm looking for the next series that doesn't include Captain Underpants (though he like the Mighty Robot series by the same author). He's devouring Garfield comics. He still reads any picture books that I get at the library for the kids.
I got my Little House books from Scholastic in 3rd, 4th, 5th grade. I also remember getting mythology books.
I agree that video game IQ is an oxymoron.
Ella loves Dora the Explorer books and she should! I do all the voices and snippets of the's like watching TV!
Bryce loves One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss. He calls them, respectfully, his 'bump, bump, bump' book and his 'pop, pop, pop' book. If you've read them, you'll know what he's referencing.

mindy said...

I loved book orders as a kid. I remember a couple times getting a "poster kit" or stickers (something non-book), but it was rare. I think it's hard/unfair for the kids who really can't afford any books, though. How awful to have that whole "Christmas/birthday" deprivation scenario played out on a monthly basis in front of your classmates.

Since we homeschool, this isn't an issue, but my MIL is a grade school teacher, and when I have the $$ I like to look through her book orders. The problem is, she gets 5-6 different brands (not just Scholastic), which means there are TOO MANY wonderful choices. Last time I bought $45 worth. So I haven't allowed myself to look since!

stephi k said...

Book orders are my bane for me since my 7-year old always tells me what to get and I miss the deadline EVERY TIME. If you are in Utah in June or Dec. I always go to the scholastic warehouse sale where everything is 50% off. I could take you w/ me.
Growing up I loved "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs". It got my imagination going. I'll have to think about my other favorites.
My 12 year old wants me to get a texting plan. I'm putting him off.

Mindelicious said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mindelicious said...

Ramona was/is one of my all time favorites! Now we love Junie B. Jones, too.

I let Whitty order one book last year from scholastic and she picked a stupid horse book because it came with a necklace. But not just any necklace, a super ugly horse shaped mood necklace. This is why I buy all my books at the thrift store.

Amy & Mark said...

I loved your post! I had the same childhood experience -- very rarely getting to buy book order books, but wanting desperately to have a little packet of books bound by a rubber band and a little strip of book order paper in my backpack to take home. When Millie brought home her first book order, I was so excited because I was going to let her get something and be delighted by it. Now, though, she seems to want everything in every book order -- especially the little toy things.

Vivid childhood books for me -- my dad reading Chronicles of Narnia to us at bedtime, reading and re-reading A Wrinkle in Time (I can still recite part of the first paragraph, I read it so many times!) Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles, The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Picture books I loved/love -- The Hungry Catepillar, Miss Nelson is Missing, George and Martha, A Tea Party for Francis . . . Oh, how soul-warming it is to talk good books! It reminds me of our book store scheme(which would have been a book store on steroids, as I think back on it -- such an ambitious plan!). I love you, my bookish friend!

Leslie said...

I'm totally with you! I used to get the Scholastic Book offers and dream up which books I would get and every time...I didn't get any of them. Now, however, when I get the book order from SJ's school...I simple choose the book that is $1 - that's what we get. If she has a few dollars of her own...I let her choose a book that costs $3. We've loved most of the $1 books. I don't know what will happen when SJ starts to think that she should have a choice! :)

Betsy Hite Scott said...

Dude, that text/pen thing TOTALLY looks like a pregnancy test! Hahaha!

The Titmi said...

When JT started school I thought I would buy then and then I too saw the crap in there. We were going to the library so why buy books? I just stopped going to save on gas (I loathe the local one). The paper came home today and a few caught my eye that looked good so I gave in. Rory wanted all the non books of coarse.

Missletoe said...

Yes, the pen looks EXACTLY like a pregnancy test. I was scrolling down looking at pictures and you can only imagine the wild things I was thinking!

My mom never let me order either. But my fav. kid books were the "Great Brain" books by Fitzgerald (maybe a Utah thing) and the "Wrinkle in Time" series.

Jessica said...

Aren't you nice allowing the Scholastic books...I always wanted them, too.

Favorite: of course the Little House Series!

Danielle Harris said...

My sister, Audra, told me to look at your post because I am a second grade teacher and send home the scholastic orders to students and also to her. Don't give up on scholastic yet!!! Yes, there is crap in there, but there are still awesome classics and new jems for way cheaper than book stores. I try to look through the flyers before I send them home and give my students some suggestions and get them all excited for certain books.
I really wish they would take the junk out, but unfortunately, they are capitalizing on our changing little ones. It makes me sad!
Some of my favorite books are the EB White books (Charlotte's Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, Stuart Little), Roald Dahl books, Shannon Hale books, Narnia series, Knuffle Bunny, Pippi Longstocking, and too many more!