Friday, October 5, 2012

The Girl’s Like Spaghetti by Lynn Truss

The Good Punctuation Fairy has been sprinkling her magic dust over Lynn Truss’s pen again. The punctuation guru of Eats Shoots and Leaves fame has come up with another picture book for children – with an eye-catching front cover. And I’m not talking about the illustrations – no offence intended to illustrator Bonnie Timmons, whose mischievous characters flit about the pages creating punctuation havoc. I’m referring to the title: The Girl’s Like Spaghetti. I had to read it a couple of times before the penny dropped. What’s that apostrophe doing there? Ah, now I get it – that girl does look like spaghetti.
The apostrophe can be a tricky little character for children – and adults for that matter – to get a grip on. Lynn Truss does a stellar job in presenting her audience with a variety of humorous scenarios that have the apostrophe waving her magic wand over sentences like, ‘Were here to help you’ where we see a forlorn little girl looking up at a closed sign on a door, and turning them into ones like, ‘We’re here to help you’ where the girl is greeted by two friendly assistants at the help desk.
Truss’s book would be most suitable for upper primary children and beyond. It is a great teaching tool for anyone new to the apostrophe or who simply never mastered it in the first place. Children need to be close-up to the book in order to see the detail – and hence the humour – in the illustrations and text. If the teacher reads the text to the class as a whole, the children should also be given the opportunity to look at the book again on a one-to-one basis. Posters or a Big Book format would be ideal for classroom use.
Truss has included a comprehensive breakdown of the grammatical aspects of each page of text at the back of the book.
If you’re looking to polish up your genie’s lantern to get some magic happening with writing in your classroom, then this book is for you – with lots of apostrophes and laughs thrown in for good measure!
Allen&Unwin 2007

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