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THE WORD SNOOP by Ursula Dubosarsky

THE WORD SNOOP

By Ursula Dubosarsky (Author) , Tohby Riddle (Illustrator)

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: July 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3406-7
Publisher: Dial

Fascinating facts about words and the English language abound in this giddy Australian import (The Word Spy, 2008), narrated by the exuberant “Word Snoop,” who discloses her discoveries to her “dear readers” in a chatty, conspiratorial style. Those who haven’t pondered how the world’s first alphabet developed (or even the word “alphabet” itself) will be wowed, and trivia buffs will adore learning that quotation marks are nicknamed “goose feet” in Iceland and what the letters in the acronym “laser” stands for. Anagrams, palindromes and oxymorons are demystified, as are mondegreens, Yogiisms and Tom Swifties. Solid-red, chapter-demarcating pages featuring the silhouette of a donkey-riding, telescope-wielding child contribute to the book’s distinctly old-fashioned design and sensibility, but the Snoop’s eclectic cultural references range from Albert Camus to Lauren Myracle, 17th-century Norwegian poets to the Simpsons—and the final chapter analyzes texting (so like haiku!) and emoticons. Wordplay and cryptography aficionados will enjoy the intermittent coded puzzles that culminate in one final message. Riddle’s simple cartoons, often visual puns, enhance the playful nature of this thoroughly engaging, well-crafted primer. (timeline, glossary, code key) (Nonfiction. 10 & up)