Saturday, July 18, 2009

Books about words (and how to use them!)

I'll admit, I am a word nerd. And a grammar fiend. And a spelling... whatever. I like it all. I've read and loved Eats, Shoots and Leaves (Lynne Truss) cover to cover, as well as Woe Is I: The Grammarphobes Guide to Better English in Plain English (Patricia T. O'Conner), and David Crystal's By Hook or By Crook (a fascinating, humorous look at the English language). I've even read bits of Strunk and White's Elements of Style for fun.

So over the last year or so I've been delighted to see several similar books written for children. First we have two more books by Lynne Truss: Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why, Every Punctuation Mark Counts! and The Girl's Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can't Manage Without Apostrophes! Along the same lines, I recently checked in a book at the store called Greedy Apostrophe: A Cautionary Tale. This should be required reading for anyone who ever writes in the English language--it's funny and it gets the point across. I told my family about this one, and now my younger brothers will see a typo and say, "Is that a greedy apostrophe?"

On a slightly different note, we got a book in a few weeks ago called The Word Snoop (Ursula Dubosarsky). This is a book all about the English language. It starts by telling about the alphabet (how it all began) and the invention of printing; moves forward through American spelling, punctuation, anagrams and pangrams and all sorts of other "grams," oxymorons, Pig Latin, onomatopoeia, tongue twisters, euphemisms, spoonerisms, malapropisms, and more; and ends with a look at "text-speak" and smileys. Everything is explained in a fun, easy-to-understand manner.

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