An exceptional parenting book with clear-cut applications.




From the My Toddler's First Words series , Vol. 1

Scanlon (Gratitude Journal for Kids, 2019, etc.), a pediatric speech-language pathologist, presents a guide to help parents understand, analyze, and enhance their children’s language development.

Learning one’s native tongue is an integral part of childhood—and one that often worries parents. Scanlon has created a rich handbook and workbook to give parents “competence and confidence” in language instruction. She begins by educating readers about early childhood language in order to show parents what to expect from their children and thus select appropriate “target words” for them. The author also provides four work sheets, designed to quickly analyze a toddler’s current level of language learning and determine directions for future growth. The next section is vital, as it lays out eight techniques to elicit first words (such as “Pause in Anticipation” and “Imitate, imitate, imitate”) as well as tips on creating a language-rich environment. Parents may already be employing some of these techniques on their own, but Scanlon effectively demonstrates each one to give readers clear notions of her language-enriching tools. The ideas for creating a language-rich environment, such as “hanging interesting pictures, postcards, maps, or photographs on walls…and chatting about them,” seem particularly beneficial. Finally, Scanlon provides a 30-day workbook that includes weekly planning sections and reviews and simple, repeated questions for each day, such as “What three things did I do today to encourage my toddler’s first words?” and “What will I do tomorrow to stimulate or further develop my toddler’s first words?” Throughout, the author draws heavily on peer-reviewed research, yet she always makes the material easy to comprehend. The tone is consistently positive and encouraging even when the author discusses touchy topics, such as limiting screen time. Lastly, the work’s intuitive organization and creative formatting make it a comfortable reading experience.

An exceptional parenting book with clear-cut applications.

Pub Date: May 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-978371-90-3

Page Count: 146

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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