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wordplay by Ivan Brunetti



I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! Well, to be honest, I love every TOON Book that I read, but I have always had a special fondness for compound words, which is what Wordplay by cartoonist, New Yorker cover artist and author of Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, Ivan Brunetti is all about.

Annemarie's (her name is even a compound! And, like her name, all compound words in the book are printed in red and blue for the two words that join to make a new one) class is learning about compound words. Her homework of making a list of compound words sends her imagination running.

Driving home with Dad, Annemarie keeps the conversation going, thinking of even more compound words. When she suggests "rabbit hole," her dad tells her that it is two words, but then he throws out "meanwhile." Loving the word play, Annemarie suggests, with a snicker, "meanwhale," and Brunetti's accompanying illustration is marvelous. The word play continues through dinner and into bedtime (which Annemarie notes is also a compound word) and into the next school day when Annemarie has to hand in her homework.


As a parent and librarian, I don't know if I've ever come across a picture book about compound words and a cursory search didn't bring up anything that can come close to Brunetti's Wordplay. And, while the plot of Wordplay is slim but satisfying, it is the graphic novel format, with the panels and word bubbles, that makes the book truly engaging. I think I love compound words because you can break them down and decode them more easily than other words, but also for the very reasons that Brunetti illustrates in Wordplay - the idea that, when you take the two words with their individual meanings, they make something different and funny which, for me, makes language fascinating and fun. I have no doubt that Wordplay will encourage all kinds of wordplay from all who read it!

Source: Review Copy

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