The Very Inappropriate Word

The Very Inappropriate Word, written by Jim Tobin and illustrated by Dave Coverly, was a nominee for the 2015-16 South Carolina Picture Book Award.

Michael is a word collector. Whenever he comes across interesting words, he admires them and puts them under his bed. One day on the bus, though, he hears an inappropriate word. It’s a word that, even though it’s bad, is interesting, so Michael collects it. He hears others use the word, too. Other kids, people on the radio, and even his mom say this inappropriate word. Michael decides to share this word with his friends at school…which is maybe not the smartest thing he could have done.

When Michael’s teacher learns he’s been spreading the inappropriate word around, she gives him the task of finding more spelling words for the class. Michael dives into his work, and he finds so many cool words that he simply forgets about the inappropriate word…as he should.

The Very Inappropriate Word, while maybe not the best choice for a read-aloud, could open up discussions with young readers about word choice and the importance of a large vocabulary. It may also emphasize that using “inappropriate words” shows a lack of imagination.

A fun exercise to go along with this book could be to have readers find interesting words in the dictionary (or in their own spelling lists) and create drawings, like those featured in this book, that illustrate just what the words mean.

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A Snicker of Magic

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd was nominated for the 15-16 South Carolina Children’s Book Award.

Felicity Pickle is a word collector. She sees words floating in the air, hovering around people’s heads, and zipping all around. She writes the words in her special blue book, and she carries the book with her everywhere. That includes Midnight Gulch, Tennessee.

Midnight Gulch, her mom’s hometown, is the Pickle family’s latest stop. Felicity’s mom has a wandering spirit, but Felicity is eager to call someplace home, and it seems like Midnight Gulch may just be the home she’s always wanted.

It is here that Felicity meets Jonah, a special boy who immediately becomes her best friend. Together, they learn about the magic that once existed in Midnight Gulch, and they try to figure out just how to bring that magic back.

Felicity soon discovers that the magic of Midnight Gulch is connected to her own family…and a mysterious curse that may be responsible for her mom’s wandering ways. If Felicity can figure out a way to break the curse, using the small snicker of magic still left in this small town, maybe she can finally have the home she’s always wanted.

But can Felicity overcome her own fears and break a curse that’s held Midnight Gulch in its grips for a century? Does she truly have the power–and the words–to make this place truly magical once again? Find out when you read A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd!