Monday 24 August 2015

Orsenna, Erik "Grammar Is a Sweet, Gentle Song"

Orsenna, Erik "Grammar Is a Sweet, Gentle Song" (French: La grammaire est une chanson douce) - 2001

An interesting book. A different book. A grammar book. A story.

An interesting story that explains grammar not only to children but also to learners of the French language. I have no idea how the translation compares because grammar is not the same in every language and especially English misses many of the different kind of tenses the French have, for example.

Still, a beautifully written story about two kids who relearn their own language. Lots of plays with words, lots of background information. I liked this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in languages. A very creative story, written with a lot of imagination. It also has some lovely illustrations.

I read this book in the original French.

From the back cover:

"At the heart of its message is an impassioned plea for the magic and power of words. Jeanne, the tough-minded ten-year-old narrator, and Thomas, fourteen, are traveling to America on an ocean liner to visit their mother when a violent storm sinks their ship and tosses them up on an island. They are unhurt, but the shock of the experience leaves them without the ability to speak. Taken into the care of Monsieur Henri, an elderly islander, Jeanne and Thomas discover that the island is unlike any place they've ever been. There is the Word Market, where Monsieur Henri visits the Poets' and Song-Writers' Corner to see if they have any rhymes for sweet and mom. At town hall, pairs of words are married by the mayor. And Jeanne sneaks off to the Vocabulary of Love Shop, where a woman whose husband has left her wants to buy "a word that will make him understand how hurt I am, a mighty word that will make him ashamed." A celebration of language in all its forms, Grammar Is a Sweet, Gentle Song will delight confirmed word-lovers and inspire the uninitiated with the pleasures of the spoken and written word."

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