Friday, October 12, 2012

Ruth Heller on Language

Is everyone ready for the second installment of all things Ruth Heller?  Ready or not...
Yesterday I posted about her books focused on science.  Today I've roped Whitney into collaborating with me, to share with you, Ruth Heller's World of Language.
To start I'd like to give you a listing of all the language related books she wrote & illustrated:
A Cache of Jewels and Other Collective Nouns (1887)
Kites Sail High, A Book About Verbs (1988)
Many Luscious Lollipops, A Book About Adjectives (1989)
Merry-Go-Round, A Book About Nouns (1990)
Up, Up and Away, A Book About Adverbs (1991)
Behind the Mask, A Book about Prepositions (1995)
Mine, All Mine!, A Book About Pronouns (1997)
Fantastic! Wow! and Unreal!, A Book About Interjections and Conjunctions (1998)

Merriam-Webster's Alphabet Book (2005)
Merriam-Webster's Primary Dictionary (2005)

Hi, Whitalics here.  So, prior to Robyn's suggestion I hadn't seen these books at all. And, honestly, when I heard there were grammar books I was like, "Okay?" I think I even texted Robyn something along the lines of 'she's seems to have all these books about english?! Did you know that?'  Guess what, Robyn did know that. And, of course Robyn wouldn't have suggested Heller as a feature author unless the books were cool and totally worth featuring. Well, I have now witnessed Ruth Heller's World of Language and they are definitely very cool!

Personally I (Robyn) think every middle/high school teacher should have a set of these books in their classroom.  I remember learning all the rules of our confusing language and being completely baffled.  These books explain and give examples of LOTS of the stuff that confused me back then.  (Confession, I got confused a few times while reading several of these books too.  I blame myself and the English language, not Heller.)

So, my library had four of these. My favorite was the book on collective nouns (A Cache of Jewels). 

That one's my favorite too!  Here's a page from A Cache of Jewels :

I liked the preposition one as well (and I think I relearned a few things from reading that puppy). The illustrations in these books are pretty darn awesome, add to that the fact that they RHYME, yes, they seriously rhyme, while explaining parts of speech-- and do so using proper English!

It really is incredible!

Ok, I think our picture book nerdiness is really showing with this post (yesterday's post too). 

I think I'm about to top out the book nerdiness with this next statement. I checked out the book on verbs from my library and I loved the beginning, but I was a little disappointed because I felt like she had to sort of rush through the section on helping/linking verbs. (Now here's the nerdy part) I almost wished she would have put them in a book of their own. YES! I wanted her to write and illustrate another book just about words like: is, are, was, were, has, have, had... you get my point.  Oh, I bet it would have been fantastic! Seriously! I'm sure that sounds very odd.

I'm also a little embarrassed while writing today because I'm sure I'm breaking all kinds of rules.  You know, all the stuff Heller so kindly explained in the books we're featuring?  How embarrassing.  Oh well.

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PS I had to leave you with the R page and the W page from Merriam-Websters Alphabet Book.  You know, for Robyn & Whitney... and so you could see what a cool ABC book it is!

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