I adore this sequence of books – as I know I have said before. They’re clever and witty and engaging in word and picture. However, because they’re based on rhyme, they do leave themselves open to debate. As you probably also know I’m fascinated by English language and the way words work. As a student I punctuated mealtimes with demands that everyone round the table should pronounce particular words so that I could write them down phonetically. Irritating for everyone else doubtless but a source of huge enjoyment for me!
Anyway, Frog is back detailing the contents of his new All-New Alphabetty Botty Book to a dismissive Cat and wondering Dog.
The things these poor animals go through to satisfy Frog’s creativity have to be seen to be believed and Kes and Jim are happy to demonstrate for our entertainment.
But just sometimes it doesn’t quite work – for me. For example:
Now if you have an accent from many parts of England jerboas’ seating arrangements will seem unremarkable to you. However, those of us from many parts of Scotland will be puzzled. Where is that pesky R coming from in the animal’s name – or has that grass-cutting machine been given an extra one?
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t spoil the book for me; it just gives me an opportunity to ponder the vagaries of language.
I remember that, back in my first year English Language course, Dr JJ Smith (known to us as Jeremy) spoke about the intrusive R and these are two examples of it. Many English accents will talk about jerboaRs and orcaRs, thus giving rhymes in the above pictures. But not me. I just use the letters that are actually there!
The truth is that Jim and Kes, in the guise of Frog, are both really good at writing alphabetty botty books. With each book that appears I am amazed at the brilliance of their imaginations and I’m always looking forward to something new from them.