Ballet, rainbows, magic, fairies, and jewelry

Sometimes it feels like we’re continually being hit up for money via the girls’ kindergarten.  What I don’t like about it is the sense that the school or the PTA are using the kids for fund-raising — invoking the nag factor to get us to pony up.  If they wrote directly asking if we could pay a certain amount per month to pay for extras the school can’t otherwise afford, we’d have no problem with that.  But the reading marathon, the contests, the Scholastic book orders (of which I presume the school gets a cut) get tiring.  Especially at this age when my daughters, at least, really do not understand money at all.  Or odds or probabilities.  We had several complete meltdowns around the Reading Marathon because they were convinced that they were going to get to ride in a limo (the final top prize for one student in the school).

So anyway, we weren’t prepared for the Scholastic Books order.  The girls came home with pieces of paper on which their librarian (I think) had written the titles and prices for three books each in which C&I had expressed interest.  These would cost a total of almost $50 and they somehow presumed it was a done deal that we’d be buying all of them.  Screaming, crying meltdown over this.  Finally we compromised and got one book each and one more to share.

I also am not too impressed with the books’ general level of literary quality.  I don’t think it’s a promising sign about a book’s merits when it comes with a cheap dollar-store style necklace included (that’s why they wanted the book, of course).  Actually to be fair, when I actually went to the sale with them set up in the library, they did seem to have good books mixed in with the necklace/book hybrids my daughters unfortunately gravitated towards.  Showing a 6-year old girl a book with jewelry included is not really playing fair.  Normally we’re pretty good at telling them that they can’t buy something, but somehow all the peer/school pressure involved here made it very difficult to manage.  Maybe part of what was galling about this was that Grandma Suzy had just shown up with a few bags of wonderful/classic children’s lit from the 1950s-70s, next to which these looked especially tawdry.

This is the book/necklace title.  Ballet, rainbows, magic, fairies, and jewelry, a potent brew:

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4 thoughts on “Ballet, rainbows, magic, fairies, and jewelry”

  1. While I couldn’t agree more about the oppressiveness of the zeal with which schools use children to shake down parents, I regret to inform you that you wound up with the GOOD necklace book. The truly crappy ones have a little plastic window in the cover with the necklace and 4 pages of “text,” whereas the fairy books actually exist in a necklace free version….

  2. Oh, I hate those Rainbow fairy books — I think I’ve now read about 8. Wait until they discover the pet fairy series… it is amazing how many books they can churn out with the same plot, illustrations, and lack of character development.

    To be fair, Scholastic publishes great authors and illustrators at really affordable prices — which they do mix with supermarket crap.

    The school does not get a cut from Scholastic — they get free books for the library and classrooms. I also don’t like their marketing strategy, but we have gotten some great books from them. I actually miss having access!

    I heard of one school in Bloomington where the parents all got together and agreed on an amount they would all pay per year — with the agreement of no shakedowns. You should try to get it going at Rogers!

  3. After your “Torture Lit” entry, this actually looked pretty good. And, at an age far surpassing that of your kids, I still love cheap jewelry. Where do I sign up?

  4. Glad I made the cut! Maybe I should write a letter to Dick Robinson, CEO of Scholastic, who was a college buddy of mine. Suggestions are welcome.

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