Michael loves interesting words (hard words like ELASTIC, little words like VAST, and big words like SMITHEREENS) and is always on the lookout for words to collect. Then one day, he picks up a new word. A bad word. An inappropriate word. At least, that's what his friend says. But Michael kind of likes the word. He thinks he might try it out.
About the Author
JIM TOBIN is an award-winning biographer and the author of Ernie Pyle's War and To Conquer the Air. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
DAVE COVERLY is a nationally syndicated cartoonist whose Speed Bump cartoons appear in more than 200 newspapers, including The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and Parade magazine. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Michael loves words. "He picked up new words at practice and downtown and even in school. where Mrs. Dixon gave the kids one new spelling word every day." He collects them, savours them and digests them. He is a true word-freak. (and I say that in the kindest sense of the word.) One day Michael bumps into a word that is "inappropriate', and "Michael could see there was something kind of bad about it. But there was also something about it that he kind of liked." He takes the word, tucks it in his brain and decides to pull it out and use it at school of all places to test the waters of its impact. All words have power and this one certainly packed a punch. Mrs. Dixon, true to her teacher training and skills uses this as a teachable moment and encourages Michael in his vocabulary building by substituting inappropriate words for ones more interesting and acceptable to those around him. The illustrations are cartoon -like and full of detail and expression. Michael's favourite words are encased in literal replicas of the true meaning of the words themselves. For example the word "fling" resembles a Frisbee and the word "squid" is written on a card the shape of a squid. This makes the words fun to pronounce and easier to identify if the word is an unknown. I really liked that concept. Rather than be shocked at the very idea of an inappropriate word escaping from our child's lips may we all be like dear Mrs. Dixon who is full of wisdom and diplomacy. May we rise to occasion of making this a teachable moment when we recognize and acknowledge that such words do indeed exist but that we as responsible and respectful human beings must resist the temptation of pulling those words out of our vocabulary arsenal and instead substitute those improper words with others of a much more noble and dignified meaning making the world a much more enjoyable place to live.