Monday, January 3, 2011

Book 2 (2011): Ella Minnow Pea

This is a completely sweet and charming story by Mark Dunn! It also reminds me of the evils of politicos getting too much power and the commoners are bullied. I prefer to go with a sweet and extremely clever story, rather than looking at it as a political uprising of the bourgeoisie.

In Ella Minnow Pea, there's a small island country 21 miles off the banks of South Carolina. It's a rather quaint place until the day the letters fall. yes, letters. See the country of Nollop was founded by the man who penned the pangram "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." this sentences is a statue in the center of town and one fateful day a letter falls, the Z

The town council gets together and decides that Nollop is sending messages from his grave to the countrymen that the letter Z should be forever stricken from the vocabulary of these residents of Nollop. And hilarity ensues.

This story is told through letters, as in correspondence, of Ella and her family and friends. And as letters start falling from the statue and as they are continued to be banned, the writing of these letters becomes more creative and hilarious. Ella fights for freedom and her family. And readers who love words and linguistics are in for a real treat.

I thought this was a hoot. Because it's told in letters, as each alphabetical letter falls and is forbidden, then the text of the book eliminated the letter usage as well. By the time we get to the chapter where the only letters left are A,E,I,L,M,N,O,P,R,S,T,W the letters Ella is exchanging are outrageous, and creative. Dunn does an amazing job of manipulating the English language to show written communication can still live on! He also ended the "broken writing" just in time, before I felt frustrated. had it gone on much longer, I wouldn't given up.

Anyone who loves words and language, and especially those who teacher English, really should read this! What a delightful story! (208 pgs)



food for thought said...

gotta get this one... but i can't shop for 3 month!

Maggie said...

Jani- you MUST read this! It's a hoot! Maybe your public library will have it...?! It was adorable!

food for thought said...

loved loved loved this, doing it for fft feb 1st. it has so many layers to it too, made me think of nazi germany and people just being so passive :(

BUT, i prefer to think of the humorous side~ author must have had a ball writing it!

Maggie said...

FoodFT- I know, it was scary like that. I felt the tones of Orwell, very "Animal Farm" and "1984".

But I certainly do prefer to look at the fun side of the novel! And I can't wait to see what you cook for this!!! (I kept thinking of alphabet soup!)