Away with Words!: Wise and Witty Poems for Language Lovers

by Mary Ann Hoberman (Author) James Perry Hoberman (Illustrator)

Away with Words!: Wise and Witty Poems for Language Lovers
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A deliciously clever and entertaining collection of poems that celebrate word play by former Children's Poet Laureate and New York Times bestselling author Mary Ann Hoberman.

Words are remarkable / Here is a book / Where you'll not only listen / You also will look / Where you'll not only look / But you also will think / About words and their meanings / And how in the blink / Of an eye or a letter / Their meanings can change / Words are remarkable / Language is strange! In this poetry collection, the masterful Mary Ann Hoberman celebrates the joy of wordplay with poems about the alphabet, assonance, alliteration, grammar and punctuation, similes, rhythm and rhyme, and so much more!

School Library Journal

This unique metrical composition highlights the alphabet through various poems all the way from A to Z, pushing the book beyond the confines of the usual audience. Each poem is accompanied by an appropriate illustration in full color to help readers understand the theme or message. For example, "tree trimming" features a picture of a boy with hedge trimmers happily looking at a tree that has been snipped down to "just a stump" after his mother asked him to trim (decorate) the tree. The pride shown on his face is comical in that he took her direction in the literal sense and almost nothing of the tree remains. The author clearly had fun writing each poem and the illustrator festoons the pages with diverse characters of every stripe. Some of the poems poke fun at common word mistakes such as not using a comma properly and how italics work in conversational text. This collection would be useful in both an intermediate classroom while teaching a poetry unit and an elementary library for pleasure reading. VERDICT This is the perfect book for children just learning their way around the quirkier elements of the English language such as puns, rhymes, alliteration, homophones, and so much more.

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publisher's Weekly

In 50-plus short rhyming poems, former children’s poet laureate Mary Ann Hoberman and debut illustrator James Perry Hoberman take readers on a playful journey through English linguistics. The verses celebrate words mono- and multisyllabic, homographs and homonyms, and how to use lay vs. lie, among other topics; the appropriately titled "U/AU/O/UH/OO/AW" marvels at varying pronunciations for ou sounds. Digitally finished pen and pencil spot art with a hand-markered vibe features illustrated alphabets, arrayed creatures, and people of varying skin tones; the standout is a double-page, starry night homage to the word vast ("A tiny word/ That encompasses/ The universe"). Even readers who grouse at the thought of a language arts assignment may appreciate the enthusiastic lines: "The origins/ Of language sing,/ Alive, ambiguous, absurd-/ In the beginning was the word." Ages 6-up.

Copyright 2022 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Mary Ann Hoberman
Mary Ann Hoberman is a former Children's Poet Laureate, recipient of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children and the National Book Award, and the critically acclaimed author of over forty books for children. Her notable titles include the bestselling You Read to Me, I"ll Read to You and the Sing-A-Long Stories series and the poetry collections Forget-Me-Nots and The Llama Who Had No Pajama. She lives in Connecticut.

Perry Hoberman is a media, installation, and performance artist. He has exhibited internationally, with major shows throughout the USA and Europe. He has received the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships, among other honors, and has taught and lectured widely, most recently at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Perry resides in Twentynine Palms, CA with his wife and three cats. This is his first children's book.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
March 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV051000 - Juvenile Fiction | Imagination & Play
JUV009080 - Juvenile Fiction | Concepts | Words
JUV070000 - Juvenile Fiction | Poetry (see also Stories in Verse)
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
American poetry
Children's poetry, American
English language

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