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Logophila

Brunetti, Ivan  Wordplay
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     TOON

After Annemarie defines compound word for her teacher, the girl imagines interpreting compounds part by part: an eggplant, for instance, would be a plant that grows eggs. Spacious graphic-novel panels invite readers to spend time with each of Brunetti’s humorous illustrations. The two words that make each compound are highlighted in different colors, reinforcing the lesson and making it accessible to new readers.
Subjects: General Language; Cartoons and comics; Graphic novels; English language

Mak, Yee-Lum  Other Wordly: Words Both Strange and Lovely from Around the World
Gr. 4–6, middle school     56 pp.     Chronicle

Illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley. Logophiles who’ve struggled for a word to express a particular “other-wordly” emotion, sight, or sensation will appreciate this slim, pretty compendium of evocative, little-known words and their definitions. Muted artwork nicely echoes the mood of the words, which are loosely grouped by association. (Lack of pronunciation guidance is a misstep as eighteen languages are included.) A word list by language is appended. Ind.
Subjects: General Language; Language—Vocabulary; Foreign languages

Reef, Catherine  Noah Webster: Man of Many Words
Middle school, high school     211 pp.     Clarion

Noah Webster (1758–1843) has a passion for words but cannot seem to find a vocation. He tries teaching, lawyering, lecturing, publishing, and writing. Late in life he finally settles down to complete his dictionary, drawing on his passion for language as well as his belief that a common American language will unite the country. Historical background gives context to this cradle-to-grave biography. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Individual Biographies; Webster, Noah; History, American; English language; Dictionaries; Teachers

Rosenthal, Betsy R.  An Ambush of Tigers: A Wild Gathering of Collective Nouns
Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Millbrook

Illustrated by Jago. “Would a labor of moles / wear polka-dot ties / when it goes to work / for a business of flies?” Rhyming text features the proper collective noun terms (which may require some adult explanation) for thirty-three animal groups. Textured illustrations of often-personified animals will help readers pick up on the wordplay and enjoy the text’s humor. Glos.
Subjects: General Language; Animals; Language—Vocabulary; Language—Grammar; Stories in rhyme

Sutcliffe, Jane  Will’s Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk
Gr. K–3, 4–6     40 pp.     Charlesbridge

Illustrated by John Shelley. The bard’s inventiveness with words is showcased in this look at London’s Globe Theatre. In lively, conversational text, verso pages present information interspersed with Shakespeare’s words or phrases boldfaced; the recto defines the phrase and identifies the play it comes from. Detailed pen-and-ink and watercolor scenes with varied perspectives brim with the bustle and jostle of London and its playgoers. Timeline. Bib.
Subjects: General Literature; Globe Theatre; London (England); Plays; Shakespeare, William; English language; Playwrights; Theater

From the January 2018 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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