Last week, we talked about Mathemagic – an annual volume that was so popular that later publications included it as #13 in the primary set. This week, we want you to fall in love with Magic of Words, an equally compelling volume.
What Mathemagic does for math, Magic of Words does for language.
Magic of Words opens with a delightful, funny, and world-enlarging storied approach to the birth of specific words.
It really is all about chasing wonder in this section as we marvel at how words came into being.
We had much laughter and some puzzling as we learned names that are words and words that are names. How names may have related to a person’s profession, a physical attribute, or a family relationship. It isn’t hard to recognize Baker or Miller but others are much less obvious.
Like all languages, words and expressions came into being because of a need. As life changes, so does language. The section “The Tale of the English Tongue,” we are treated to excerpts of old and timeless literature including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Beowulf.
Part of the English story is the history of the peoples who settled, conquered, and lived in the British Isles.
After treating us to the beauty and history of the English language, the volume moves into equally interesting but more technical explanations of how sounds became words and how spoken words became represented visually.
Of course this history starts in the Fertile Crescent.
But it does not stop there. This volume explains other less commonly known visual representations of words: Braille, Flag, and Finger.
Finally, the last section profiles the real life ways that words are used as work. Creative writers, reporters, copywriters, editors, etc. This section of the book includes dated black and white photos capturing images of old typewriters and very early computers. The world has changed quite a bit since the publication of this volume, but this part of history is interesting and worthy of the attention of young minds.
To see which other Childcraft volumes we have reviewed, check out our series page here.