Product Reviews - The Old Schoolhouse


Product Reviews

The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation The Mysteries of Grammar and Punctuation Revealed, The Review by Jenefer Igarashi and Gena Suarez

The Mysteries of Grammar and Punctuation Revealed, The
An Easy-to-Use Reference Guide and Workbook
A Publication of Bare Bones Training and Consulting Company

Happy, Happy, Happy am I! Call me weird, but I LOVE grammar! I stink at it, but I really do find it fascinating and fun. However, since I'm such a grammar goober, I figured it would do me well to take a class, maybe an on-line version, to brush up on my skills and make me a better writer, and more importantly, a better teacher.

Boy, am I glad that I did not plunk down two hundred dollars for a six-week English course, because I found something SO much better! I stumbled across Jane Straus' website completely by mistake, and what a happy, happy blunder.

We are glad when companies contact us for reviews, but when I discovered -- and read all about -- The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, it was love at first sight. Love, you say? Well, yes, I had to have it! I contacted Jane Straus immediately to let her know I was interested. I knew it would be something you (our attentive readers, looking for the very best resources available) would want to know about.

I eagerly waited for my Blue Book to show up at the office. And I waited and waited and waited, until I started getting suspicious and finally asked my Publisher if my Blue Book had shown up. "Ohhhhh…"” she replied a bit fidgety, "er, you sent for a Blue Book? Why? Are you trying to sell your car?" I knew it was a ploy; she was stalling. She knew what I meant.

"I was sort of hoping you would've forgotten about that," she confessed. "It showed up and I really want it. It's a very, very handy book." So I wrestled it away from her and told her to get her own then joyfully ran home to go through it.

I am a horrible judge when it comes to first impressions, but for once I hit the jackpot! Never has there been such a well-arranged, easily navigated guidebook as this. It is perfect for the homeschool family, as it doubles both as a quick reference/study guide and student workbook (with answers in the back)! I am in grammar heaven. It is so complete, yet very concise -- perfectly suited for a teacher and student, and so easy to use. Table of contents includes: Basic Grammar, Punctuation, Capitalization, Writing Numbers, Exercises and Tests, and Answer Key. You will want to get one for your students - and you'd better get two, because you will want to keep one on your desk - actually, you'd do well to get three because everyone you know is going to want to borrow it. (I am still trying to keep my copy out of the clutches of my publisher. Just today, she threatened to steal it and do her own review on it!)

So now that you completely know you need one, I have some great news! Jane Straus has generously gifted an extra copy for one of our lucky readers to win as a prize! If it doesn't come up missing, that is. It is at the office. I shall have to hide it.

-- Product Review by Jenefer Igarashi, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine



And here's an update on The Blue Book!

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation: The Mysteries of Grammar and Punctuation Revealed
An Easy-to-Use Reference Guide and Workbook
By: Jane Straus

Last year (2004), we wrote a review on The Blue Book and you may have seen it on our website or in the magazine. While the written content was superb, the outside packaging was "homemade" looking, which was not necessarily a bad thing really. It just did not look like a book that would be sold in stores. Things have changed. Jane Straus has recently released a similar but much more professional version (expanded, eighth edition), and it looks and feels far better with its shiny blue cover and perfect binding (spine). Of course, the inside of the book contains the same excellent information - but with 50% additional material. In it you will find more rules, more tests/quizzes and more overall content. If you flip to the outside back cover, you will note a previous endorsement from our magazine, as follows:

"Never has there been such a well-arranged, easily navigated guidebook as this. It is perfect for the homeschool family. One of the most practical, usable, beneficial resources. It doubles both as a quick reference/study guide and student workbook (with answers in the back)!"

Our opinion has not changed, except for the better. The book is expanded; it's nicer and it's fuller. Allow me to go over some of the topics of study in this handy resource and also reiterate that this can double easily as a workbook for the homeschool student. From my perspective as a publisher, it is all the more useful as a quick reference while I'm chained to my desk with article deadlines. Grammar - finding subjects and verbs; subject and verb agreement; pronouns; who and whom; whoever and whomever; who vs. which vs. that; adjectives and adverbs; problems with the proposition; effect vs. affect; lie vs. lay, and effective writing. Punctuation - spacing with punctuation; periods; ellipsis marks; commas; semicolons; colons; question marks; exclamation points; quotation marks; parentheses; apostrophes; hyphens and dashes. Capitalization and writing numbers are also covered extensively. I love all the grammar and punctuation/capitalization exercises in the back and appreciate that the answers are provided.

I must say I am impressed with the price of the book, and the cost goes down further with multiple buys - homeschool families will appreciate that. The Blue Book takes the guesswork out of editing, writing, and grammar in general. Study hard and become proficient with grammar; this book is the tool. Highly recommended by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.

--Product Review by: Gena Suarez, Publisher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine