Friday, October 5, 2012

The Return of the Word Spy - Ursula Dubosarsky

Yes, it’s true. The Word Spy is back. She snuck in by bus, train and plane without anyone noticing. And shhh, don’t tell, but she’s uncovered a heap of fascinating facts about words. Reading The Word Spy was adventure enough, but this time the trail takes some tricky twists and turns through language itself. A lot of snooping goes on, I can tell you. The Word Spy’s torch illuminates the origins of language, different types of languages – dead ones and new ones – sign language and Braille. There’s even a real Braille page in the book to run your fingers along! She talks about “the language of the road” and the symbols that swaggies used in case there were angry dogs about.
From babble to Chomsky, over-extension to metaphors and similes, you can be guaranteed the Word Spy has unearthed a fine selection of language peculiarities with her pick – and explained her findings with humour and intrigue. But there’s more.

Nouns, verbs, adjectives, subjects and objects. Don’t worry, the Word Spy isn’t one for boring grammar exercises. She takes the reader on an adventure to meet a one-trousered man, nouns like ice cream, verbs like goldfish and a whole float of crocodiles. If that’s not excitement enough, there’s a quick dip into etymology and a squiz at neologisms. And, like in The Word Spy, a puzzle to solve at the end of each chapter and a message to crack at the end of the book.
Ursula Dubosarsky gathers in her readers as the Word Spy takes them into her confidence, on a fascinating linguistic adventure, enriched by Tohby Riddle’s endearing illustrations. A great book to whet childrens’ appetites about the complexities and elaborateness of language.

Teachers will love it.

Allen&Unwin 2010

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