Dictionaries--Wit and Humor English Language--Study and Teaching Spelling (Grades 2--8)

Awful Abecedarius! P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever by Raj Haldur and Chris Carpenter.

A IS FOR AISLE.

The bread aisle has not been cleaned in aeons!

Alas! Spelling in the English language has always been a wonder, as in… we constantly wonder why it’s so weird! (And by the way, why is weird not spelled like beard?)

How do we no, er, “know” why we spell “photograph” the way we do, instead of “fotograf?”

And why is frog spelled with an “f” if a frog is an amphibian?

There is a reason. Although English is named after the Anglo-Saxon language, England suffered a chain of invasions in the post-Roman period, and, as English spread, it survived by soaking up words from those other languages like a sponge. Thanks to that, English probably has more ways to say things than most other languages (We can eat chicken or poultry, cow or beef), which gives us native speakers a lot of downright goophy, er, goofy ways of spelling odd words until you know where they came from. For example, Greek is responsible for pterodactyl, which meant “finger-winged” with a silent “p.”

Raj Haldar’s and Chris Carpenter’s witty and best-selling P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever (Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, 2018) has a lot of fun with the oddities of English, especially those weird words beginning with silent letters, such as knight and knee and knot. What about gnat, gnocchi, and gnome, and tsunami, Tchaikovsky, and tchotchkes, or wren, write, and wrapper? Why is ewe not spelled like you? And why don’tquinoa and quiche start with “k”?

Haldar’s and Carpenter’s tongue- (what’s with the ue?) in-cheek exploration of unusual spellings makes for tons of fun (not tuns of fon), ably abetted by the witty illustrations of their creative comic colleague (there’s that pesky ue again) Maria Tina Beddia, which make this one altogether The Worst Alphabet Book Ever. Great for elementary English logophiles who might as well learn to have some fun with our quirky (but not kwirky) but beloved language. Have you heard it’s a word nerd‘s delight and a spelling bee contestant’s worst nightmare? (Or is that knightmare?)

A book that might benight or delight (or indict and leave contrite) even an errant but erudite knight!

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