Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ella Minnow Pea

Summary: Ella Minnow Pea is a girl living happily on the fictional island of Nollop off the coast of South Carolina. Nollop was named after Nevin Nollop, author of the immortal pangram,* “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Now Ella finds herself acting to save her friends, family, and fellow citizens from the encroaching totalitarianism of the island’s Council, which has banned the use of certain letters of the alphabet as they fall from a memorial statue of Nevin Nollop. As the letters progressively drop from the statue they also disappear from the novel. The result is both a hilarious and moving story of one girl’s fight for freedom of expression, as well as a linguistic tour de force sure to delight word lovers everywhere. *pangram: a sentence or phrase that includes all the letters of the alphabet (-Anchor)

I read Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn as a recommendation from a friend. I am so happy that I did! The setting of this book is in Nollop, a small island off the coast of South Carolina. The folks there idolize the man who created the sentence "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." There is a statue of him with the sentence in the middle of town. As time goes by, letters begin to fall off, which the citizens take as a sign that they are no longer to use them. Initially, letters like q and z aren't too hard to live without, but as time goes on, spelling becomes challenging, as letters are combined to create the same sound of a former letter. The only way to get the letters back is to create a sentence that uses all of the letters of the alphabet but is smaller than Nollop's original one.

I loved this book! It was so fun, and it was quite enjoyable. I always like books that written in 'letters' to others, but this one definitely tops the rest. The folks of the town are quite verbose and I enjoyed the different words they would choose just to mean something simple. (Ie Omnipotent being instead of God) It was fantastic! I highly recommend this book. I only wish there were others like it-although I really don't know that they could master the technique as well as Dunn.

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