It's Not All Flowers & Sausages: My Adventures in Second Grade by Jennifer Scoggin--aka Mrs. Mimi--caught my eye on my last visit to the library.It's Not All Flowers & Sausages: My Adventures in Second Grade by Jennifer Scoggin--aka Mrs. Mimi--caught my eye on my last visit to the library. I opened it up and found an amusing tidbit and thought it would be a perfect short read for some of my reading challenges. It is intended to be a humorous look at Mrs. Mimi's life and times as a second grade teacher--with her takes on everything from administration to "teaching to the test" to parents and her "little friends" (as she calls her students). It is a book that grew out her blog (It's Not All Flowers & Sausages) and covers everything from pee jokes to her cutesy nicknames for coworkers (The Fanny Pack) and students (Goggles, Braids, etc) alike.
I'm not quite sure what happened between reading that snippet at the library and bringing the book home, but somewhere in between most of the humor leaked out of the book. Not that there aren't any funny parts...but they were few and far between and I didn't enjoy the book nearly as much as anticipated. I also have two quibbles with Mrs. Mimi, who apparently counts herself among the "Super Teachers" group at her school. First...honey, if you're going to rag on your fellow teachers for their grammar, spelling and whatnot in various handouts and presentations mentioned throughout the book, then you ought to be a little bit closer to word perfect yourself. Several places could use a better editorial eye than they received. Second, and maybe it's just me and the fact that I don't use swear words myself....but if you're a second grade teacher presenting a book about teaching second graders, then I don't expect to see swearing on every other (if not every) page of your precious tome. Surely to goodness you don't talk this way in front your little friends. But maybe that's supposed to be part of the humor.....Nah.
Overall, a fairly disappointing read that is shelved as non-fiction even though she goes out of her way to tell us that she's making things up--not real stories and not about real people (little or big). So that would be fiction, yes? Oh, well, my library calls it non-fiction and so will I...for the challenges.
The Adventure of the Eleven Cuff-Buttons by James Francis Thierry (1918) is thought to be the first novel-length Sherlock Holmes parody with "Holmes"The Adventure of the Eleven Cuff-Buttons by James Francis Thierry (1918) is thought to be the first novel-length Sherlock Holmes parody with "Holmes" as the central character. "Doc" Watson recounts Hemlock Holmes's first British adventure after they return from a three-year stay in New York City--this explains why he and Holmes sound like caricature-versions of Americans abroad. It doesn't explain why every other character--including the Earl of Puddingham and all the inhabitants of the manor also sound like they've been studying American slang.
Holmes is called to Nomanstow Towers to track down eleven of an even dozen diamond cuff-buttons which have been stolen from the Earl. The famous detective is determined to find the missing buttons...not out of any interest in justice, but in the interest of adding the enormous fee to his bank account. Holmes examines shoes and questions all the staff and family from the Earl's wife to his younger brother to his wife's elderly Uncle Tooter and from the Earl's private secretary to his temperamental French chef to his German gardener. Everyone has a theory about who might be thief--basically anybody but their honest selves.
This parody actually ventures beyond spoof to outright exaggeration--Holmes is over-the-top dismissive and not just abrupt, but down-right rude to everyone. His contempt for the Yard, as represented by Inspector Barnabas Letstrayed, is at its highest level ever. There is some humor to be found in this--but not as much as anticipated. In my opinion, the funniest bits are in Watson's asides to himself and comments to Holmes when they are alone--for while, he is outwardly a fawning, loyal side-kick, he is inwardly wondering why "it was that I still continued to swallow such talk as that, when I knew it was my duty to rise up and paste him one in the eye for his sarcasms." The book is also made--if in any sense it is--by the illustrations by Rob Pudnim. Two stars--for limited humor, Holmesian historic value, and the illustrations. What keeps it from three stars? The Americanisms--I got really tired of "hearing" Holmes say "gol-darned" and "chump" and worrying about his fee in American dollars. Three years in the States doesn't change a British subject permanently. And the mystery just wasn't that engaging--as parody or as legitimate puzzle.
Carol E. Wyer is a lovely, funny lady. I have appreciated her humor since I discovered her blog before her first novel (Mini Skirts & Laughter LinCarol E. Wyer is a lovely, funny lady. I have appreciated her humor since I discovered her blog before her first novel (Mini Skirts & Laughter Lines) came out. I looked forward with eager anticipation to the review copy of How Not to Murder Your Grumpy which she arranged to have sent to me at the earliest possible moment.
In the book she offers us all sorts of tips on how to keep our husbands amused and out of our hair once they decide to retire. I'm not quite there yet, but I certainly know the male species well enough to know how they can get underfoot if they're home with their spouse too long too often. The tips she offers range from the intellectually interesting (stamp collecting, bird watching) to the interestingly obscure (Korfball, anyone?) to the downright unusual (rabbit show jumping?). And the commentary that accompanies these suggestions range from the mildly amusing to the more infrequent laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Which brings me to my take on the book....it was a pleasant enough read and it did provide amusement, but I'm afraid it wasn't quite as funny as anticipated. I have to say that I have laughed and chuckled far more often when reading Carol's blog than I did while reading her how-to book on keeping the hubby entertained. A nice quick read for a solid three-star outing which just didn't quite knock it out of the park for me.
This review was first posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting any portion. Thanks.
[Disclaimer: This book was sent to me as a review copy by the author. My review policy is posted on my blog, but just to reiterate...This review copy was offered to me for impartial review and I have received no payment of any kind. All comments are entirely my own honest opinion.]...more