Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Very Inappropriate Word - a book review

Welcome to Storywraps.  I will disclose to you the answer to yesterday's book quote.  Here's the quote to refresh your memory:

        "The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home."

This quote is from the book "The Wind and the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame. It is a classic of children's literature and was first published in 1908.

Today's quote for you to figure out is:

"How five crows managed to lift a twenty-pound baby boy into the air was beyond Prue, but that was certainly the least of her worries."

Feature book of the day is:

Title:  The Very Inappropriate Word
Author:  Jim Tobin
Illustrator:  Dave Coverly

Take a peek inside:

My take on the book:

Michael loves words.  "He picked up new words at practice and downtown and even in school. where Mrs. Dixon gave the kids one new spelling word every day."  He collects them, savours them and digests them.  He is a true word-freak.  (and I say that in the kindest sense of the word.)  One day Michael bumps into a word that is "inappropriate', and "Michael could see there was something kind of bad about it.  But there was also something about it that he kind of liked." He takes the word, tucks it in his brain and decides to pull it out and use it at school of all places to test the waters of its impact.  All words have power and this one certainly packed a punch.  Mrs. Dixon, true to her teacher  training and skills uses this as a teachable moment and encourages Michael in his vocabulary building by substituting inappropriate words for ones more interesting and acceptable to those around him.  

The illustrations are cartoon -like and full of detail and expression. Michael's favourite words are encased in literal replicas of the true meaning of the words themselves.  For example the word "fling" resembles a Frisbee and the word "squid" is written on a card the shape of a squid.  This makes the words fun to pronounce and easier to identify if the word is an unknown.  I really liked that concept.

Rather than be shocked at the very idea of an inappropriate word escaping from our child's lips may we all be like dear Mrs. Dixon who is full of wisdom and diplomacy. May we rise to occasion of making this a teachable moment when we recognize and acknowledge that such words do indeed exist but that we as responsible and respectful human beings must resist the temptation of pulling those words out of our vocabulary arsenal and instead substitute those improper words with others of a much more noble and dignified meaning making the world a much more enjoyable place to live.

About the author and illustrator:

Meet Ann Arbor Children's Author Jim Tobin & Ann Arbor Illustrator Dave Coverly (The Very Inappropriate Word)

James Tobin is an associate professor of journalism at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. A former prizewinning reporter, he earned a PhD in history from the University of Michigan. His first book, Ernie Pyle’s War (Free Press), won the National Book Critics Circle award.  
 DAVE COVERLY is a nationally syndicated cartoonist whose Speed Bump cartoons appear in more than 200 newspapers, including The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and Parade magazine. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

A few fun things to share on the topic.  Enjoy.


Book Review Rating:  8 (Fantastic!)

Read on and read always!  And remember no "inappropriate words" today! 
(even though sometimes it does feel good to let out a few)  :)

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