The Wonder of Words

Where in the world would we bee without words? Our amazing alphabet, with its countless combinations gives meaning to life, story and song. Letters line up on the page like tin soldiers offering hours of reading pleasure. March into March with Newsbee as he introduces you to a trio of books that celebrate the “The Wonder of Words.”  Page on, and enjoy!

‘What Pete Ate From A-Z’ by Maira Kalman

“What Pete Ate From A-Z,” isn’t your ordinary alphabet book. This clever tale by Maira Kalman isn’t an ordinary dog book either. You’ll realize that when you meet Pete—replete with a bad habit that gets him in the doghouse.

Pete belongs to Poppy Wise and her little brother Mookie. They need to wise up on ways to curb Pete’s appetite. “Egads! …Doesn’t Pete know the difference between edible and inedible,” Poppy exclaims. It doesn’t seem so.

The petulant pup likes “A” and the awesome accordion Cousin Rocky plays. As soon as he downs that, he’s off and running. “B” brings him a “bouncing ball that belonged to Uncle Bennie’s dog Buster,” oh yum. Then it’s on to “C,” and so on and so forth right through until “Z.” “Zooks! Whatta dog.”
Readers will fall in love with Pete. Silly as it can be, this Pick barks up the right tree.

‘Max’s Castle’ by Kate Banks

Word play is fun, and there’s plenty of letter sparring in “Max’s Castle,” an ingenious book by Kate Banks about an inventive boy named Max.

When Max retrieves some old blocks from under his bed, his big brothers do what big brothers sometimes do—they poke fun at Max, especially when they find out he’s hiding a block in his pocket. Benjamin and Karl tell him he’s too old to play with baby toys, but Max shows them PDQ that blocks are AOK.

He begins to build a castle where walls become halls, and simple items in his room become fantastical objects that captivate his brothers’ attention. Soon they want to be part of Max’s building project too.

Of course a castle has to have a moat, then the boys need a boat, and before long they’re tussling about who will be king? Naturally there’s a dark dungeon, a dragon and a guard. The adventure continues, and words lurk within other words as the story unfurls with playful illustrations by Boris Kulikov.

You’ll have to put on your thinking caps on to figure out some of the word puzzles, but by the end all the pieces will fit and you’ll see how the words stack up for a blockhead who wins his brothers over.

‘The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman’ by Meg Wolitzer

“The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman,” by Meg Wolitzer will have you dragging the old Scrabble game down from the top of the closet. This smile-awhile novel is about a bunch of creative school kids who hone their skills with Scrabble and then gather at a competition to duke it out across the boards.

Hot in the lead is Duncan Dorfman. Ol’ Duncan doesn’t have it easy. His mother, a single mom, recently lost her job in Michigan and she and Duncan move back to her hometown in Pennsylvania. Adjusting to new friends and surroundings is hard on Duncan, but he finds a place to fit in when he pals up with the Scrabble crowd.

Duncan has a secret weapon that might help him cinch the championship. The fingertips on one of his hands are able to decipher one Scrabble tile from another. When the school bully hears about this, suddenly Duncan isn’t the brunt of his jokes, he’s Carl’s ticket to a sure-fire win, even if it does involve cheating.

There are plenty of high-jinks in this engaging book, but more serious undertones about honesty as well. It’s your move! Read it now.

Reprinted with permission, Missourian Publishing Company. Copyright 2012.