What A Wonderful PHRASE – A collection of amazing idioms from around the world

  • Written by Nicola Edwards
  • Illustrated by Manu Montoya
  • Published by Little Tiger

I loved this book from the moment I saw the cover, and could not wait to see what awaits children inside. The first thing you notice is how stunningly illustrated the pages are, with plenty of illustrations depicting the phrases that feature inside. They give children a visual understanding of the text, each of which is a two page spread that states the phrase/idiom in large font at the top of the left page, and where it originates from, as well as the original language translation too – which is a brilliant touch to the information being offered inside.

The text that follows informs readers as to where the respective phrase originated from, with reference to languages and history/civilisations, which is actually really interesting to learn – especially in respect to those phrases you have heard of before, or indeed use yourself, such as ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’. I also loved reading of the other pharses inside this book that I hadn’t heard of before, and the historical meaning behind them. One thing is obvious from the offset in this book, it is incredibly well researched, and consequently very informative.

The text is not overwhelming in length, so it won’t put off even the most reluctant of readers, and the layout enables readers to pick and choose which phrase they read and learn about, and with a contents page at the front it means this book doesn’t need to be read in a front cover to back cover typical manner.

There are so many phrases we use in everyday conversations, that we have learnt from our parents, and them from then, and so on. This does mean that the relevance is unlikely to be obvious to the younger generation, or indeed the older, as we just take things at face value without questioning the relevance or meaning in more detail, and yet children are more and more inquisitive in todays world, which is fantastic because in finding out the answers for our children, we learn something new and significant ourselves.

My youngest child is the perfect example of a young and inquisitive mind that questions everything, and I often praise him for thinking ‘outside of the box’. He will ask about meanings of things, why things are the way that they are in the world, and give examples and suggestions of ways things could be simpler or better for society, based on improving things as they stand. This book is absolutely perfect for him, as it offers bitesize amounts of text to read and digest, and then content for discussion afterwards. I can definitely see him explaining the context of the phrases within this book when he hears them in conversations going forward too.

I think this book would be the perfect choice for school assemblies, and by that I mean both in primary and secondary schools. To begin by asking children if they have heard of the respective phrase chosen from the book, and if anyone can offer up an explanation for the chosen content, that much in itself would cause a buzz throughout the children as they recall in their minds a scene in which they heard or used the respective phrase. To then read the respective definition and depth offered up in this book would absolutely get children thinking about what they have just learnt, how far the language we use has come, and inspire their writing too.

There would likely be many conversations shared at home relating to the content of this book that those children have been made aware of, and felt engaged in. This is exactly the sort of book we all want as parents that are looking for content to inspire our children with, and also encourage discussion and theories as a consequence. Getting children thinking and inspired is a huge challenge us parents face, but this book offers it all, and has such as immersive and exciting design that children will delight in reading it countless times over.

We often confirm whether a book we are reviewing on here is worthy of being purchased for school libraries, as this is our professions we both proudly undertake, and we know first hand how tight budgets are, and that libraries need the quality titles over those in a popular series. This book really is a MUST for in schools, whether it be in the library to borrow, or in a classroom reading corner, and of course this book would be the perfect purchase for enjoying at home. I will be advocating this title in both of those scenarios, and look forward to offering fuel for the curious minds that will one day be handing down these phrases to children of their own.

reviewed by Sam

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