Thursday, February 10, 2011
Kids say the darnedest things!
One of my favorite newer kids' books that considers words is one I wrote about a couple of months ago. It's 13 Words by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Maira Kalman. It's so much fun and so clever that it's worth repeating. It's one of those edgy picture books that's fun for the whole family. Before you know it, you'll all be walking around saying "haberdashery" and "panache".
Harry Potter series is the creation of a world and plenty of words to fill it. And, of course, who could forget Andrew Clements' beloved Frindle? Looking at some of the more recently published books, I had to pause over titles like Scumble and Incarceron because it seems to me a fair amount of creativity went into those words. Scumble is the sequel to Ingrid Law's Savvy. In Savvy, we were introduced to the magical powers the protagonist inherited when she turned 13. In Scumble, we meet her cousin who turns 13 and aquires a version of those same powers but one that seems to go all wrong so he must scumble his savvy into control. It's an interesting use of a word that, according to Merriam Webster means "to make (as color or a painting) less brilliant by covering with a thin coat of opaque or semiopaque color applied with a nearly dry brush". Still, it is a real word, liberally and figuratively used. I like that and I like this book as an early middle grade choice.
How about Incarceron? Not a real word but one that certainly makes sense when it's used as the name of a prison. The twist in Incarceron is that the prisoners are not convinced that Outside Incarceron exists, making escape attempts unlikely. Only one person has ever escaped... Consider shifting landscapes reminiscent of The Hunger Games, invincible teenagers (or teenagers who think they're invincible) and a crystal key and your teenager who didn't know where to go after Mockingjay may have found a destination.