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Babble! And how punctuation saved it

by Caroline Adderson
illustrated by Roman Muradov

2022 / 72 pages

In the village of Babble no one knows what punctuation is which means they do not know when a sentence ends and the next begins they can’t even figure out when they are saying things out loud or just thinking them because they don’t have quotation marks

But then along comes a little girl who introduces them to the period. Whewww.

That helps a lot but the villagers have all sorts of questions they want to ask. But they can not. Because they still do not have question marks.

Can you imagine the relief they felt when the little girl shared that special little squiggle with them?

Onward it goes with quotation marks, commas, exclamation marks, and apostrophes introduced in the following chapters. The village of Babble, where there was once nothing but noise, now has people talking, thinking, questioning and, don’t you know, contracting too!

This would make for a great introduction to the importance of punctuation. Kids will especially love the chapter where the comma is introduced. In what’s an old gag, but will be new to kids, accusations are made about Babble villagers indulging in cannibalism! But how could that ever be? Well, it’s all about how the following sentence sounds if you don’t include a key comma: “Soon we will eat Grandpa.” Commas can save lives!

This cute tale is really a must for every elementary school library!

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Adult non-fiction, Book Reviews

On writing (and writers): a miscellany of advice and opinions

by C.S. Lewis 2022 / 191 pages Not everyone can attend a Christian Writers' Conference, or take graduate-level writing classes. But if you like to write, and want to improve your skills (and maybe even write for RP!), one place to obtain a good amount of useful advice is in the book On Writing by C.S. Lewis. Though not as tidy as other “How to” books, with some repeated advice, Lewis’s golden nuggets of writing-truth challenge and encourage writers. He advises about writing children’s books, fantasy, and theology, and he spends a good amount of time critiquing well-known writers of his time. Here are just a few examples of the wisdom he offers: “Whenever you are fed up with life, start writing. Ink is the great cure for all human ills.” “In the author’s mind there bubbles up every now and then the material for a story….It is now a thing inside him pawing to get out.” If you want to be a writer, “What you want is practice, practice, practice…even if it’s thrown into the fire in the next minutes, I am so much further on.” “Writing should delight readers, not just label an event delightful. It should make them feel terror, not just tell them that an event was terrifying. Emotional labeling is really just a way of asking readers, ‘Please, will you do my job for me?’” “Write for the ear, not just the eye.” Read your writing out loud. Another admonition that surprised me is that he strongly proposes that we re-read books in order to “savor the real beauties.” In subsequent readings, we progress without the “surprise” of knowing the ending; in doing so, we will discover “surprisingness” within the plot structure and style. If I were still teaching English, I would write excerpts from this book on the board to discuss with my classes each day. I think that writers/prospective writers will benefit from Lewis’s experience....