Category Archives: Reviews
Well I am a failure again this week. I agreed to do a book review for Father’s Day on a book that I am sure many new/future/old dads may have wanted as a gift. But, being the father that I am, a 9-5 working man who has a busy home life, I never got around to reading it and only heard what my wife thought of it.
The book is Dad to Dad: Parenting like a Pro by David L. Hill. While I did get to read a few pages of this terrific book I know that I will be going back through and reading it all. This book is the What to Expect When You Are Expecting for dads. It is organized in much the same way but with writing that will make you laugh and keep you entertained. A full book review is out of the question since again I did not read it all. But from what I did read and what my wife told me, this book comes highly recommended.
David is a pediatrician and a lot of the things that he brought up about eating and vaccines actually put me and my wife at ease from some of the stuff we have heard in the past. It covers everything from birth to the teenage years.
Again this book can not come more highly recommended from me so if you are still looking for something for your dad, be sure to check out Dad to Dad: Parenting Like A Pro.
When Super Hubby asked me to help him write a review of a children’s book, the teacher in me was excited. I couldn’t wait to get the book and read what I was convinced would be an admirable contribution to children’s literature. But, unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed.
It’s a Big World, Little Pig! is a sweet story about Poppy, a big-dreaming, champion figure skating pig who travels to Paris for the World Games. Poppy is nervous to travel so far away and meet new people. As she encounters athletes from other countries, she begins to realize that “everyone smiles in the same language.”
While I commend author Kristi Yamaguchi (yes, the Olympic figure skater wrote a book about figure skating) for incorporating character traits of cultural awareness and acceptance into her story, the book is a bit…well….flat. Poppy meets athletes from China, Italy, Japan, and Australia and they each learn a few words in their respective languages. The characters give each other encouragement and, in doing so, they actually cure their own insecurities. But the events are loosely connected. All the encounters are fleeting and the prevailing theme of “everyone smiles in the same language” is awkwardly tied in on the very last page.
There are a few things that bother me about this book:
First, there’s no “meat” to the story. Okay, okay, I know not every book can be turned into a comprehension lesson (reading for enjoyment does still exist in some far-reaching corners of the world) but even the Sunday Funny Pages have more story elements and character development than this. I genuinely tried to create a standards-based lesson with this book, but I kept coming up blank. Maybe my brain was already on Spring Break, so teacher readers please let me know if you have any ideas!
The second thing that bothers me is that the words the characters teach each other in their languages aren’t consistent. Poppy learns Ni Hao (hello) in Chinese, Buona Fortuna (good luck) in Italian, Ganbatte Kudasai (I hope you do well) in Japanese, and Hooroo (goodbye) in Australian English. A better prevailing theme would have been to learn the same word in each language.
Which brings me to the third thing that bothers me about this book: redundant sentences. Don’t get me wrong, as a language development and reading specialist I definitely know the importance of repetitive and predictive text for an emerging reader. What I mean is that this book is repetitive in a boring way. For example, here is an excerpt from the story: “Poppy smiled at her new friend and her new friend smiled back. Zoe wasn’t nervous anymore because she had made a new friend in Poppy!” By the end of the book, I was already imagining the phrase “new friend” as a crappy librarian drinking game. Perhaps Poppy could learn how to say “friend” in each language and those words could have replaced the English, thus eliminating the redundancy and providing a more consistent connecting theme–two birds with one stone.
I must add, though, that the illustrations are positively charming. Huzzah to Tim Bowers for saving this book from the 99 cent bin.
Bottom line: Would I pay $16.99 (list price) for the hardcover book? Definitely not. Would I check it out from a library? Sure. Would I pay $4.99 for paperback at a school book fair? Sure, but only because it’s a school fundraiser. It’s better than buying yet another roll of wrapping paper.
Imagine this, your sitting down at the couch in your man cave. You’ve brought your favorite brewsky with you and you turn the big game on. Suddenly you realize that you have to take the cap off the beer but dont’ have anything to do it with. What do you do? Do you get up from the couch find the bottle opener and miss the first part of the game? Do you use your remote control to open the beer?
Yes, that’s right I said remote control! That is what The Clicker is all about. It is a universal remote, but not just your ordinary remote. The Clicker has a bottle opener built into the remote so that you don’t even have to leave the couch to open your beer. Ingenious!
This thing is incredible! Once I complete my man cave down in our basement I am going to have to make sure that I have one of these to put down there. Granted, I realize that I could just get up to open my beer and that more then likely I am going to have to get my butt off the couch anyway to get the beer, unless I get a couch with a cooler built in! Opening a bottle of beer with this was alittle tough on the first one but the second time I used it, I was able to open the beers no problem.
The only problem I have had with this is that programming it was kind of difficult. This could have been because of me being a man and not fully reading the instructions however. I was able to get it programmed after alittle trial and error. I was also not able to program it for the DirecTV receiver but I didn’t put much effort into it since we are now a cable less house.
This would make a great addition to any man cave. Once you have it programmed you’ll never have to leave your seat to open a beer. You could even open a beer and change the channel at the same time. If you are looking for a great gift to give your man this would be it!
This product receives The Rookie Dad seal of approval.
The Clicker was provided for me to review.
It is important to know that as of August 15th, 2012 Bumbo Chairs have been recalled. Please go here to find out what you need to do if you own a bumbo. This is no way affects my review of this product.
All parents find things that they love, and I mean LOVE! Well our bumbo chair was one of them. This is a recently retired item in our household since the chipmunks legs are getting to fat to fit into the chair. Without a doubt though this is one of those products that is functional and yet versatile.
The bumbo chair as mentioned above is quite possibly one of the best products a parent can own in the first year of your child. The chipmunk could sit in this chair and play for hours on end. We purchased the Seat Tray which was great for putting toys down for the chipmunk to play with. Once he was able to get moving we put the chair on a chair to act like a high chair. Now, don’t go calling SRS on me, since that is a big No-No. I believe it even says that on the chair itself to not put the bumbo on an elevated surface, but we all know as parents we don’t always listen to the rules. As long as you sit there with the baby in the bumbo you should be fine. With the seat tray we were even able to feed the chipmunk while he was in the bumbo. It was really nice being able to set him in it and give him his first haircut too!
The only downside to this was we had to retire it to early, because the slots for the legs became to small. Not that big of a deal but would have been nice to have been able to use it just a tad bit longer. Maybe we just fed the chipmunk to many donuts and it all went to his thighs.
About the Recall
Ok from a little bit of research, this chair was recalled in 2007. Reason, parents would put this chair on an elevated surface like a counter top and the baby would essentially flip backwards and fall off the counter top causing serious head injuries. THIS IS NOT A BABYSITTER! What ever you do don’t act like this is a babysitter, don’t set your baby in it and leave, and if you’re dumb enough to leave your child while it is in a chair or elevated somehow, don’t blame the company. You are a stupid parent and part of the reason why companies have to act like people are 3! Sorry I am off my rant now!
I give this the Rookie Dad seal of approval since it is so versatile. How many products out there can keep a baby occupied for hours (another one that kept ours happy coming soon though) and you can do so many things with it like feed him, give him a haircut, let him play, and do all of those things. This product is a must have for all parents.
I was not paid or compensated in any way for this review. It was my personal opinion and should be used as just that.
This book was on sale at Barnes and Nobel (don’t tell Steve Doocy that who is the author of the book) so I figured I could splurge and spend the 6 bucks. Steve calls this Misadventures in Fatherhood and well that hits home in this book. Not only does this relate to Steve but it he strikes the cord with all fathers. Steve may have more dad experience then me, but I can see myself in the same shoes as he was during the experiences of this book.
Tales from the dad side is a book that all dads wish they could write. Maybe I was able to connect more to it knowing that Steve was from Kansas and is part of the TV Industry (although on a network I can’t stand Fox News). The back of the book is right however, This is a funny book, not some dry Dr. Phil – authored manual with diagrams, lectures, and boring stories about sleeping overnight at one of Oprah’s mansions. In a nutshell, that statement nails the book.
He touches on topics that all fathers love to talk about sports and sex, not only that he touches on his experiences as a father letting go of his kids as they went off to college and some of the things he is scared of.
There was one point when he was talking about when his daughter went to the hospital and he said that he never wanted to see his child in pain. I have to say at that point, i started tearing up a little. With the ear infections that the chipmunk gets I can relate more so now. There is something about being a dad that makes you want to be the provider and protector.
The one downside to this book is the writing. If you can get past the cheesy humor then you should be fine. Steve’s writing style is a little difficult to get used to in the beginning but after a chapter or two I really got into this book.
Every now and then we need to see that other father’s are going through or went through the same things we are going through. Seeing that other dads are finding the humor out of everything about being a dad. This was a good break from all the informative books that I’ve read about being a dad. Which is needed when your dealing with a 7 month old. Despite the rough writing style, this book brought me to tears and made me laugh out loud at the same time, and for that reason, I give this book The Rookie Dad seal of approval!
You can find this book at any of your major book resellers.