THE KEEPER OF WILD WORDS
by Brooke Smith
Illustrated by Madeline Kloepper
ages 5 to 8
A touching tale of a grandmother and her granddaughter exploring and cherishing the natural world.
Words, the woods, and the world illuminate this quest to save the most important pieces of our language—by saving the very things they stand for.
When Mimi finds out her favorite words—simple words, like apricot, blackberry, buttercup—are disappearing from the English language, she elects her granddaughter Brook as their Keeper. And did you know? The only way to save words is to know them.
• With its focus on the power of language and social change, The Keeper of Wild Words is ideal for educators and librarians as well as young readers.
• For any child who longs to get outside and learn more about nature and the environment
• A loving portrait of the special relationship that grandparents have with their grandchildren
For children who love such books as Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature, And Then It's Spring, and Finding Wild.
By allowing the wonder of nature to lure in on every page, the listener/reader is invited into the realm of wild words.
The author notes at the end of this book that she's written it thanks to one inspiration: the continued knowledge of words from nature. She noticed that over 100 words from nature were cut from the Oxford Junior Dictionary and replaced with more modern terms from slang and technology. In this book, she attempts to make sure readers don't forget words such as acorn, wren, minnow and buttercup, but rather learn to incorporate them in their own lives.
The illustrations invite listeners into the tale as a young girl visits her grandmother and they go on a search for 'wild' words. The joy of spending time together outside as well as the variety nature has to offer becomes clear on every page. It definitely invites listeners to head outdoors themselves and discover the world around them. As to the words, many listeners will easily recognize, but a few might not be as well known.
The text flows nicely and allows the relationship between the grandmother and girl to shine. It's easy to listen to, making it a nice read aloud. I believe the entire thing would have been more interesting and potent if it'd been a slight bit more compact. The text is a bit heavy considering the book is also over sixty pages long. More short-spanned attention fans might have trouble sitting still the entire way through. Other than that though, the book is lovely and makes a nice addition to a classroom sitting or even for homeschoolers. There's a pouch at the very end, which encourages listeners to head out and discover their own 'wild' words to preserve and remember. And I'm sure they will.
And here they are...
Brooke Smith is a poet and children's book author. She lives in Bend, Oregon, at the end of a long cinder lane. Brooke writes daily from her studio, looking at the meadow and many of the wild words she cherishes.
Madeline Kloepper is a Canadian artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Major in Illustration from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Her work is influenced by childhood, nostalgia, and the relationships we forge with nature. She lives in Prince George, British Columbia.