The Word Snoop: A wild and witty tour of the English language by Ursula Dubosarsky, illustrated by Tohby Riddle We were recently informed by our six year old that it is just not fair that he has to learn to read English. "English is weird and hard and everything is different in different words!" he complained. Oh, it's true, little man. We're sorry. We should totally be Spaniards.(t-shirt available from TopatoCo) We did, however, try to explain that we are endowing him with one of the most versatile, descriptive languages on the planet. His grown-up cousin, a marine biologist, told him that, for example, English affords botanists thousands of ways to describe the hairs on a plant leaf or stem. He was not mollified. His 8-year-old brother was similarly pissed off about the inconsistencies of English when he was learning to read. But now he likes it. For example, he was utterly charmed by this book, which presents our language as a fascinating compendium of mysteries, stories, and tricks. The Word Snoop speaks directly to inquisitive children in this tour of pangrams, palindromes, interrobangs, spoonerisms, leetspeak, backronyms and mondegreens. Ms. Dubosarsky is clearly a fan of the eccentric, acrobatic English language, and is a dab hand with an anecdote, recommending that readers try to find a recording of Lead Belly singing "The Pig Latin Song." She explains how to make portmanteau words, challenges the reader to solve - and create - word puzzles, lists a few great tongue twisters, celebrates rhyming slang, and so much more. The ivory color, small size, serif type, and classy pen-and-ink illustrations give the book a slightly obscure feel, as if it might have been discovered at the back of an old bookshop. This is a good thing - kids who love mysteries and history and old-fashioned novelty will gravitate to it. Short chapters with even shorter sections make The Word Snoop perfect for picking up and putting down. It's a book to buy, not borrow.