William J. Brooke A is for Aarrgh!

ISBN 13: 9780060233945

A is for Aarrgh!

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9780060233945: A is for Aarrgh!

Long, long ago--even before "once upon a time"--when people lived in caves, and woolly mammoths and saber-tooth tigers roamed the land, communication generally meant a few grunts and a couple of bonk bonks on the head with a big club for emphasis. But what if a young caveboy suddenly began pulling words out of thin air and naming everything in sight? And what if a young cavegirl suddenly took those same words and began weaving them into something magical? Master storyteller William J. Brooke takes readers back to the Stone Age in this whimsical and outrageously funny spoof on the birth of language.

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About the Author:

William J. Brooke lives in New York City. He and his wife are both singers and actors, particularly active in the Gilbert and Sullivan repertory. Mr. Brooke has co-authored musical revues that have been performed off-Broadway, around the country, and in Canada. A Is For Aarrgh! is his fifth book for young readers.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-7-A tongue-in-cheek, novel-length folktale about early man and the emergence of language. Caveman Brog is strong and brave, and, therefore, is the headman of his tribe. His son, Mog, is too small and weak to follow in his footsteps. However, Mog has a talent that is about to change their lives: he uses mouth noises to name objects-papa, sun, rock-and when the Tribe understands what these noises are all about, they find speech to be useful. Mog moves on from nouns to inventing adjectives, adverbs, and verbs; and teaches his tribesmen to talk about times other than the present, although "the past and future made them very tense." While Mog is off with his new wife, a strange girl with a gift for telling stories, Drog, the most shiftless member of the Tribe, takes over by using language to invent concepts like money, ownership, debt, and greed. Most of the characters are drawn in broad, cartoonlike strokes too shallow to be truly three dimensional, and the pace of their language acquisition (from grunts to philosophical debates in a few years) is too rapid to be realistic. In A Telling of the Tales (1993) and Untold Tales (1992, both HarperCollins), Brooke retold well-known fairy tales in elegant language with clever and sensible new endings that made the stories more realistic and believable than before. In A Is for AARRGH!, he does the opposite, turning common knowledge about early humans and the possible origins of speech into a funny folktale for sophisticated readers.
Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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