Ella Minnow Pea is for those who love English.
While you don’t have to be an English major to enjoy the story, it is an impressive novel for those who love the flow and sound of words.
In the tiny town of Nollopton, the citizens highly respect the man behind the phrase “the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” because it uses every letter of the alphabet.
They revere it so much that when letters start to fall from their famous cenotaph (a monument erected in Nollop’s honor), the council members decide to outlaw the use of the fallen letters.
As a result, Ella Minnow Pea and her close family, friends, and neighbors have to become increasingly creative with their use of vocabulary to compensate for the missing letters. They communicate to each other through a series of notes, and as the novel progresses, the messages become more and more garbled.
I’m impressed at Mark Dunn’s organizational skills
and unquestionable grasp of the English language.
I can only imagine the time the author spent in crafting each page to use only specific letters, rather than limiting his words to whatever first comes to mind like so many other writers do.
The Story Is Adorable
You’d think it’d be easy to focus so much on the vocabulary that the rest of the story would get lost. But, Mark Dunn does a great job at keeping the characters unique and the plot fresh; everyone gets a voice even though we only hear them through letters and notes instead of dialogue.
Furthermore, it has a nice blend of adventure, romance, and (surprisingly) politics.
It does get a little preachy about becoming more involved in our government and not letting our officials take too much control over our lives, but I feel the concepts are good ones to consider and it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the story.
I think Ella Minnow Pea is a great way to get young adult and teen readers to appreciate the language they might take for granted, but it also has a lot of adult concepts to think about so it appeals to an even larger audience.
This is the second or third time I’ve read Ella Minnow Pea.
It easily made it onto my favorite books list.
This time around, I finished reading the kindle edition of the book, which I borrowed through the OverDrive Media Console app. I highly recommend it if you’re ready to take a hard look at the words you use on a regular basis and want to add a few new ones to your vocabulary.
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