A review of Parent Plots, Teacher tales & Student Stories by Edward M Baldwin

Reviewed by Molly Martin

Parent Plots, Teacher tales & Student Stories
by Edward M Baldwin
Jazlo & Lossi Publishing
Paperback: 136 pages, September 4, 2014, ISBN-13: 978-0979407420, RRP $13.71

Edward M Baldwin’s Parent Plots, Teacher tales & Student Stories continues the narrative he began in his first work, Learnt. Writing with wit and more than a little humor, Baldwin presents eleven anecdotes, short stories and tales.

“The Old Salesman” introduces an elderly gentleman who has something more important than things to sell to his young customers. “The Fridge Monster” is a humorous look at the misconception of the two year old mind coupled with the worry a young single mother often faces alone and frightened for the future.

“Drop Quiz” might be any fourth grade classroom. I chuckled as I read this one, two years teaching 4th grade in a career spanning three decades in the realm of the K-1 has convinced me that the 4th grade mind is pretty much as writer Baldwin sets down on these few pages. “A Perfect World” is the poignant tale of a sad little boy who reminds me of many children I have known over the years, this is the child who never quite fits in, and in spite of his teacher’s best effort to promote his acceptance, having him work with another child in hopes a friendship will develop, or choosing him to be in a committee with other children, or assuring that he be given his turn at child of the day as are all the others in the class. “Hot Sauce on Apple Pie” is one of the longer pieces at 23 pages. Filled with much of the angst every new teacher feels, “Hot Sauce” is a compelling read with a real story to tell, and a bit of a twist for a conclusion.

“The Genius Son and Awesome Mother”is a play featuring two characters, and raised a chuckle or two from this mom of a genius son. “A Slice of Dice” offers one home schooling family’s take on Black History Month. The narrative is a good read. “School Daze” presents one student’s reaction to her teacher’s discomfiture regarding her lack of attention. The twist ending is too good to omit. “The Genius Son and Normal Mother” is another play. It is well worth the read and one that every mom can identify with through her laughter.

“Forty Three Dollars” is a sweet tale sure to bring a tear to the eye as one father, recently laid off his job, learns a valuable lesson from his young son regarding children, and gifts and what is really most important to a little boy. “Dumb Assignment” is a fun read.  “Text Booked” involves two teens who are texting while in separate classes. The ending brings a guffaw.  “Winning” is actually the first anecdote I read. Filled with a father’s growing understanding that bonding with a child means more than promises or simply being in proximity. This is a narrative well worth the read.

Baldwin combines a breezy, easy to read writing style with years of classroom experiences to produce a well written work filled with short to a little longer sketches that offer a peek into the life of teachers and parents. While not every offering is meant to be humorous, the ones that are do bring a smile to the lips and giggles during the read.

This is a perfect work to tuck into a pocket, backpack or briefcase for taking out while the kids are in with the dentist, you are waiting for a train, or for perusal over a cup of coffee during a brief stop to recharge in the midst of a hectic day.  This book may well be chosen for the personal library, as a gift for a former teacher, or for a parent, or anyone who enjoys lighthearted reading presented in well constructed style.

Floridian Edward M Baldwin is a high school English instructor, a literacy coordinator and an adjunct professor at a nearby college. Married, with three children and two cats writer Baldwin states that he enjoys visiting school and colleges where he chats with students regarding goals, motivation, writing and the importance of reading.

Reviewed by: molly martin
20+ years classroom teacher
20+ years classroom teacher