Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book Review Briefs: The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman

"The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman" by Meg Wolitzer
ʌ ʌ (2 carets up)

What a wonderful book for young readers. Whether interested in language or not, this is an enjoyable book and I'll bet anyone who reads it will discover a new found enthusiasm for vocabulary, parts of speech, and morphology.

If the cover image didn't give it away, the book is about the game of Scrabble, more specifically, a Youth Scrabble Tournament and what brings three preteens from different states to the tournament.

Here is a summary from Penguin.com:

At first glance, Duncan Dorfman, April Blunt, and Nate Saviano don't seem to have much in common. Duncan is trying to look after his single mom and adjust to life in a new town while managing his newfound Scrabble superpower—he can feel words and pictures beneath his fingers and tell what they are without looking. April is pining for a mystery boy she met years ago and striving to be seen as more than a nerd in her family of jocks. And homeschooled Nate is struggling to meet his father's high expectations for success.

When these three unique kids are brought together at the national Youth Scrabble Tournament, each with a very different drive to win, their paths cross and stories intertwine . . . and the journey is made extraordinary with a perfect touch of magic. Readers will fly through the pages, anxious to discover who will take home the grand prize, but there's much more at stake than winning and losing.

Anagrams are a frequent topic in the book, as evidenced by these excerpts:

"Words are like clay, Dorfman," he went on. "They can be shaped and messed with not only by your hands, but also by your head."

"PROSE is an anagram of ROPES. Oh, and SPORE is too. And POSER."

Here is an excerpt that includes the topics of vocabulary, parts of speech and morphology:

Duncan thought about the word AA, for instance, which he had looked up in the Scrabble dictionary and found out that it meant "rough, cindery lava." If he hadn't known it was a noun, he might have tried to add ING onto the end of it, thinking it was a verb.

Makes me wish I was a kid again so I could read books and play Scrabble all day long.

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