By: Brian P. Cleary
Illustrated by: J. P. Sandy
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Publication Date: September 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: January 2012
Sometimes certain spelling words can be mighty tricky, but if you pay careful attention to some of the hints in this book, you might just have an easier time remembering some of them. One way many people learn how to spell words or remember facts is by using mnemonics. A mnemonic is "a fancy word given to little tricks or devices that help us remember important facts." Some devices actually make up a word by using the first letters of the word we are trying to remember. For example when you are trying to remember the names of the great lakes you'll have an easier time if you can remember the word "HOMES."
Learning to visualize pictures can also help you remember a word or words. This book will teach you to utilize some of these little "tricks," or discover your own unique way of remembering things. There are two "Spell It Right" sections, A-M and N-Z, that present some very tricky words. For example, when you want to spell the compound word "background," it just might "be easier if you remember that it's a combination of two words." It isn't backround! There's the visual of a dog with highlighted words pointing to his back and to the ground to keep in your mind's eye when you have to spell background.
Of course if you think about the word "misspell," you only need to think about Miss Pell, because "She would never misspell `misspell.'" You'll also learn how to use certain words that many kids think are one: a lot, all right, and no one. Do you know when to use the words fewer and less? There are a couple of easy ways you can remember in order to figure it out. You'll also learn about many homophones, "words that are pronounced the same but have different spellings and different meanings." Do you know when and how to use the words capital and capitol? You will when you've finished reading this book!
One of the most striking things about this book is the zany artwork that provides a stepping stone for the visually oriented student to work with. For example, when providing a few tricks to learn how to spell the word "roommate," there is a picture of two roomies sitting on a couch, each with the letter M on their shirts (MM). There are many words included in the first two sections that often stump grownups as well. License, rhythm, dessert, and potatoes are among them. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore. This would be an excellent kid reference to add to any classroom, homeschool, or library shelves!
Quill says: This book presents a fun and easy way to learn to use an assortment of devices to learn to spell difficult words.