Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ox, House, Stick: the History of our Alphabet


OX, HOUSE, STICK: THE HISTORY OF OUR ALPHABET; Don Robb and Anne Smith; Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2007; 47pp. Juvenile non-fiction.

Colorful pictures and a surprisingly comprehensive text make this history of the alphabet one of the best ever for young people. Beginning with why written language was invented--to be able to keep a record, and to be able to speak to people far away in time or place--Robb traces the development of the alphabet from pictograms through hieroglyphics to Sumerian, Phoenician, and Roman incarnations to our current alphabet. The text is remarkably detailed, given the brightly colored picture book format of the book, and deserves careful and probably repeated readings. A terrific introduction to language.

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