When our youngest son was a senior in high school, he was enamored with hedgehogs. He tried to convince us that Santa needed to bring him one for Christmas. Or that he should get one for his birthday.
Being the loving, giving mother that I am, I of course said, “No.”
I knew that in a few months he would be graduating from high school. He would head off to college to begin his adult life. Would he be allowed to keep a hedgehog in his dorm room at college? No. So who, then, would be left to take care of said hedgehog while he was away at school if perchance he got one? Mother, of course.
I certainly didn’t want a hedgehog for a pet.
While our son lived in the Netherlands, he came across a hedgehog that lived in a hedge. (Funny thing.) Our son named the hedgehog Gunther. I was happy for our son. I was happy for Gunther. I was happy that Gunther lived in a hedge on the other side of the world from me.
So, when I recently saw a cartoon drawing in a book, I chortled. In fact, I flipped back to the joke several times because I enjoyed it so much. The book was explaining that sometimes words ending in “ly” are not adverbs. It gave this sentence. “Hedgehogs are prickly.”
Below the sentence was a sketch of a hedgehog standing on his hind legs, hands clenched into fists, and his quills sticking out. Nearby was a dog with hedgehog quills stuck in his nose. Beneath the drawing it said, “Tell me about it.”
Okay, so maybe this isn’t as funny to you as it was to me. I guess you’d have to see the drawing to really appreciate it — and to have the hedgehog background that I do.
This drawing was one of many clever sketches in the book Write (Or is that “Right”?) Every Time: Cool Ways to Improve Your English by Lottie Stride.
This delightful, lighthearted book gives fun to read tips about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The tips are broken into small-sized chunks that make reading and comprehension easy – and not overwhelming. You won’t feel like your ninth grade English teacher is hitting you over the head with a huge grammar hammer. (Grammar hammer! Clever wording, isn’t it? See me pat myself on the back.)
This would be an excellent reference book to have on the shelf for junior high and high school students as they write papers. I loved reading this book from front cover to back. However, this book is best used when you are stumped and need to quickly find an answer to a grammar question and then be on your merry writing way. The table of contents and the index at the end of the book make it easy to find the correct page that has the answer to your problem.
Write (Or is that “Right”?) Every Time: Cool Ways to Improve Your English is published by the Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., and costs $9.99 in the USA. I would give this book 5 stars out of 5.
My Grammar and I . . . Or Should That Be Me?: How to Speak and Write It Right by Caroline Taggart and J. A. Wines is another good book to have on your reference library shelf.
It explains split infinitives, dangling modifiers, prefixes, suffixes, parts of speech, sentence structure, and punctuation. Can’t remember when to use ‘that’ or ‘which’ and which one requires a comma? This book tells you. Scared to death to use a semi-colon? This book explains its use. Do possessive apostrophes leave you quaking in your boots? This book gives you understanding and peace of mind.
This book also has a section that gives you the collective nouns that describe different groups of animals. So, if, in your casual conversation with the man on the street and you need the word for these groups of animals, you’ll be in the know.
• a shrewdness of apes
• a sloth of bears
• a grist of bees
• an intrusion of cockroaches (I’d say!)
• a sedge of cranes
• a murder of crows
• a convocation of eagles
• a tower of giraffes
• a business of flies
• a tribe of goats
• a parliament of owls
• a prickle of porcupines (and maybe hedgehogs, too?)
• a drift of pigs
• a shiver of sharks
• a streak of tigers,
• a knot of toads
• a rafter of turkeys
This book is not as lighthearted as the other book. Also, it has more depth than the other one. The reading level would be a bit too high for a junior high school student. Because it deals with confusing aspects of writing and grammar, you might have to read it over a couple of times to understand the concept it is explaining.
The one thing that I didn’t like about this book is that it didn’t have an index. I think that an index would be really helpful. I would give this book 4 stars out of 5.
My Grammar and I . . . Or Should That Be Me?: How to Speak and Write It Right is published by the Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., and costs $9.99 in the USA.
So, this gramma (that would be me) is giving away copies of these two books. If you would like a copy for yourself, your children, a grandchild, or the lady who works at the Arctic Circle, please leave a comment and share an interesting experience you’ve had with the proper or improper use of words. Or just say hi. I’ll put your name in a hat to select the lucky winner on August 30.
Full disclosure: I received free copies of these books to read and review.