Thursday, April 19, 2012

Children’s Book Review: E-mergency! By Tom Lichtenheld and Ezra Fields-Meyer

Everyone knows that the alphabet just wouldn’t be the same without all the letters, so what’s the remedy when one of the letters has an accident? This extremely clever book explores that quandary when the letter E, who lives in a big house with all the other letters, falls down the stairs! While E recuperates at the hospital, the other letters must figure out who can take her place while she’s gone. The letter O is elected to be E’s substitute (because O is so “well-rounded”), and a national announcement is made. Needless to say, all the newspapers are difficult to read when every E must be replaced with an O. Chaos ensues! Unfortunately, E isn’t getting any “bottor” (no Es, remember?!). Will the other letters be able to find the solution and get E back into the alphabet?

At the end of the book is a fascinating graph that shows the frequency of use of each letter in the English language. We learn that going without the letter E would definitely cause huge problems, just like E-mergency! demonstrates, because it is used 12.702% of the time -- more than any other letter! T is a distant second with a usage rate of 9.056%. Can you guess which letter is used most infrequently? (Hint: There’s a reason why it’s always last in line!)

My 8-year-old boys really love this book, from the cartoon-like funny drawings to the clever plays on words. (One of my boys, for instance, noticed that a numeral 2 was sitting on the toilet in the letters’ house. Only a little boy would notice a gross detail like that!) After reading the book, they love to come up with new words by replacing all the Es with Os. Both of their names change, which they find very funny! E-mergency! is a new favorite in our house. We’ve read it over and over again, and it never loses its chuckle-inducing charm!


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