Today is Book Lovers Day, an unofficial holiday celebrating the love of books. It’s a great excuse to relax and read.
I picked an easy book to enjoy, P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever, written by rapper Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter and illustrated by Maria Tina Beddia. If you haven’t seen this gem published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky last year, you will want to.
It’s “the worst alphabet book ever” because none of the letters play the roles we expect them to play. P is not for popcorn; it’s for pterodactyl, where it’s silent. (“Ptolemy the psychic pterodactyl struggles with psoriasis.”) C is not for cat; it’s for czar and Czech. And E is not for elephant; it’s for ewe.
The book is a testament to our random, crazy English. How can people learning English as a new language not become confused, when the letter A surprises in so many ways? (See below.)
This book might be a fun gift for someone learning English. It would validate their frustration with the endless exceptions of the language, and it might help with memorizing them. “The honest heir” and “the noble knight’s knife” seem like excellent mnemonic phrases to me. (One entry is “M is for Mnemonic.”) A glossary with pronunciation tips covers 47 of the linguistic exceptions. For example, mnemonic is defined this way:
Mnemonic (pronounced neh-MON-ic)–A handy way of remembering something hard by connecting it to something easy. The next time you need to remember something, try making your own.
Although the book is described as a juvenile picture book, the clever writing and illustrations make second and third readings a pleasure, even for an adult. Of course, with a young child, 30th and 40th readings would be fun too.
You can see more illustrations from P Is for Pterodactyl on Amazon. The book retails for $17.99.
If you are mastering English as a second language, would you enjoy this book?
On Book Lovers Day and every day, what are your favorite books on language?