I don’t think I have ever in my life read a book about English grammar that I actually enjoyed! Until now. I recently received Finding King Onomatopoeia and Other Stories: A Fun Journey Designed to Help Students Learn the Art and Craft of Writing by Lee B. Woods. I really truly enjoyed reading this book! I love the unique approach that the author took when he wrote it. He used stories about a brother and sister, James and Jessica Davis, as well as other characters with names like Judge Gil Tee (a judge, of course), Izzy Curious (a psychiatrist), and King Onomatopoeia (a tribal chief) to teach rules and guidelines about writing. James and Jessica are constantly getting into strange situations in which they end up learning a good lesson having to do with writing and the rules of writing. (As a former middle school language arts teacher, I particularly loved a chapter in which Jessica couldn’t speak her line in a television show because it wasn’t grammatically correct, and she was afraid her language arts teacher would see the show.)
Of course students who read this book will realize that the book was written to help them learn rules and guidelines for writing, but that’s ok! I think they will find the book to be lots of fun even if it does have value beyond just entertainment. 🙂 My children haven’t read it from cover to cover yet, but they have listened to me read portions of it, and they enjoyed it along with me!
Each chapter is kind of a “mini story” or situation of its own, but all together the book is about James and Jessica and their daily adventures. Toward the end of the book is a section in which the students are given a chance to show what they’ve learned and to give their opinions on many of the topics covered in the book. For example, one of the exercises is about sentence fragments. Not only is the student asked to identify sentence fragments, but he or she is also given the chance to discuss when sentence fragments might be useful in a story (to show excitement or emphasis, for example). I happen to be rather a stickler for using good grammar in both speech and writing, but even I can see that sentence fragments are sometimes very useful, and they often help a story sound more “real.” Of course there are many valuable topics covered in the book and in the exercises at the end. Another lesson, for example, is about creating reader interest.
I think this book would be good for students of middle school ages and even up to high school or adults. I found it fun to read myself, and you might too! And as I mentioned, even the exercises at the end can be fun and serve as interesting topics for one-on-one or even group discussions.
You can find the book on Amazon for about $15. I honestly think it will be a fun “lesson” for your children and you! And summer is a great time to consider reading this book with your children if you want to keep the learning going even if you’re taking a break from regular homeschooling. It’s definitely entertaining enough to be fun, yet it teaches some important rules and guidelines at the same time! Perfect for summer! (See…there’s one of those sentence fragments I mentioned earlier.) 😉
If you decide to read the book yourself or with your children, I would love for you to come back and let me know how you liked it! Do you have plans to read it with elementary-aged students? Middle school or older? Please tell me your experiences! I’d love to hear from you.
King Onomatopoeia Giveaway
This week, one of our lovely readers will win a copy of King Onomatopoeia plus a $50 check from author Lee Woods! Enter for your chance to win below.