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The Basic Cozy Essay Course Review by Anne Weiland

By: Marie Rackham and Tyson Mielke
Directed by: David Mielke
Splashes from the River Multimedia Entertainment Inc.
Campbell River
British Columbia, Canada V9W2T2
1-800-201-2280 (orders only)

Imagine an introduction to essay writing from a dear aunt. Of course, she is encouraging, personable and gentle with you. The Basic Cozy Essay Course feels like a visit from that dear aunt. Smiling, humming and wearing a pert straw hat, retired English teacher Marie Rackham teaches the course in a variety of beautiful settings. She covers basic essay format and the process involved in writing an essay. On camera, she actually demonstrates the techniques by writing two essays: "The Lifecycle of Plants" and "The Beach." Throughout the program she stresses the likelihood of success for students who "have the tools."

The Study Guide reinforces what Ms. Rackham teaches on camera and also provides many sample essays of different types. Each essay is preceded by a brief explanation of what this type should accomplish and followed by an outline of the particular essay. Some of the types include expository, research, character analysis, review, and admissions essay.

The Basic Cozy Essay Course provides a good introduction to essay writing, but it has some limitations. First, there is no substitute for the give and take that comes with writing and being evaluated by a parent or teacher. In addition, most students will need more instruction on additional essay formats and the finer points of writing. This program will likely be a hard sell to teenage boys, if the teenage boys at my house are any indication. Ms. Rackham is just a little too cozy for them. With these possible limitations in mind, a parent will find that this program provides exactly what its name suggests, basic essay instruction.

-- Product Review by: Anne Weiland, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine