August 22, 2007

Woe is I jr. - by Patricia T. O'Conner

How do you know whether to use the word which or that? How do you choose between I and me in a sentence about you and your friend going to the library? What are the correct rules for using that pesky apostrophe? Why wasn't a grammar book this simple written a long time ago? The first three questions can be answered by reading Ms. O'Conner's Woe is I jr., the fourth is pointless, since the book has obviously been written.

This is a fabulous grammar handbook for students, most appropriate for fourth graders and above. The author clearly lays out all of the rules that parents and teachers not only want their children to follow, but often forget themselves. Rules are taught in a fun, simple way, with many useful examples. In addition, the book is full of poems and pictures to illustrate the rules, and to help them stick. Although the author seems to have tried a little too hard at times to appeal to children (lots of name-dropping of characters from children's books, and a lot of silly little comments in parentheses), I haven't yet used the book with children, and this may be the perfect approach to take. In a dark sea of grammar guides, this one shines!