Grammar Is a Sweet, Gentle Song: A Novel

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9780807615317: Grammar Is a Sweet, Gentle Song: A Novel

In the spirit of The Little Prince, this enchanting fantasy about the adventures of a shipwrecked brother and sister is a book for young people best appreciated by grown-ups.

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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About the Author:

Érik Orsenna, a member of the French Academy, is the author of André Le Nôtre: Gardener to the Sun King. He is a distinguished economist and served as cultural advisor to former French president François Mitterand.

From Publishers Weekly:

In Orsenna's witty rumination on words and grammar, 10-year-old Jeanne and her 14-year-old brother, Thomas, are shipwrecked on a strange island where words have become independent. Rendered mute, the siblings visit the Word Market, where one can buy the perfect word for any occasion. They also travel to a town full of independent words that strut around without the need for human beings to utter them. The marriages that take place between nouns and adjectives or adverbs are particularly clever: "house, still preceded by the, came out of the shop with the qualifier she liked best: haunted Thrilled with her purchase, she kept telling her articled servant, 'Haunted, imagine that, I've always simply adored ghosts, and now I'll never be alone again.' " Such word adventures help restore the siblings' power of speech. On this level, the book works admirably. The more serious subplots involving the siblings' estranged parents and a cadre of strict grammarians who kidnap Jeanne are betrayed by shallow characterization. Having raised darker and more grown-up questions, the author seems unable to provide answers as satisfying as the open-ended whimsy of his word island. Existing in the precarious middle ground between a children's tale and adult fiction, the novel delights while providing maddening hints of a stronger, more rewarding story.
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Book Description George Braziller, United Kingdom, 2004. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780807615317

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Book Description George Braziller, United Kingdom, 2004. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780807615317

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