Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology uses a unique brand of humor to show readers how fun etymology can be. What inspired you to start this series of books?
I am primarily a wordplay writer and have published over 200 articles of assorted styles of word play in the online journal Word Ways, not all humorous. Within the general category of word play, my favourite type is constrained writing of various ilks. My two Strange Bedfellows books use the constraint of using only words that are etymologically related to construct fun phrases and sentences. I then embellish them with my own weird sense of humour in explaining or more often simply extending the SB thoughts to a more free form of humorous expositions and stories.
The idea of using pools of etymologically related words as a type of constrained writing came to me when I noted, in Eric Partridge’s wonderful etymology dictionary Origins, what a huge number of interesting words are surprisingly ultimately related to ‘legend’. From there I devoured Origins looking for other pools of relatives offering interesting combinations. I collected many and managed two volumes of the constructions from them as skeletons on which to overlay my personal style of humour and nonsense. The latter is heavily influenced by the writings of Will Cuppy as well as Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl, James Thurber, Ogden Nash, Dr. Seuss, Edward Lear and others.
What is the collaboration process like between you and the illustrator, Kalpart?
Kalpart is the company name of a commercial art collaboration headed by Kalpa Joshi. For my books, I describe to her the images I visualise and she is very compliant in revising her first efforts to capture them until they meet my wishes. Other of her artists usually do the final coloured illustrations. I couldn’t ask for a more cooperative artist. She does, however, often make suggestions that I like and let her use.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
Joy! Plus a sense of the inevitable ambiguity of words, phrases and sentence that allow puns and other twists to amuse and/or expand the reader’s perspectives. (Oops, that two things!)
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have two upcoming books, both being sequels to my Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories A to Z (‘SAR1′, 2018), profusely illustrated in colour by Kalpart. They use a different type of constrained writing, monorhyme verses on animal themes, which I call animal uni-verses.
- 101 Animal Universes, unillustrated and with limited prose addenda, finished and seeking a publisher as a ‘pure’ poetry book. Hence the release date is unknown. It includes some of the best verses from SAR1 and the following (SAR2) plus many more mostly new universes.
- Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two, in press, text approved and awaiting the rest of Kalpart’s brilliant illustrations, half finished. It should be finished and released in 2-4 months but possibly longer. This and my three recent books are self-published by SBPRA, the fifth (101AU) hoping to find a regular publisher, but failing that, again to use SBPRA.
I also have three other books firmly in mind, all partly written, the second two illustrated:
- a short small book of embellished Spoonerisms;
- a commercial satire Dr. Duck’s Dealy Deli based around an enterprise and characters that clutter the pages of my other five books; and
- a rewrite of an old self-illustrated volume from 1979, Anno Dodo, a humorous satire cum word play on the theme of extinction.
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Books open up the world to us–this is something we have all known since we were children in a kindergarten classroom. That’s the place where words began to show us their power–and their many, many meanings. Some of us have gone on to love words and the beauty of multiple meanings. Anil has handed us all the most wonderful gift a lover of words could ever want — Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology. Between its pages, this fun little read brings the smiles and laughter we could all use during these stressful times.
What reads like a most prolific assortment of random thoughts turns into quite a stunning opportunity for readers to visualize amazing literary images. I think I most appreciate the lack of organization to the text and the freedom to pass from one odd thought to another. Anil’s work is a superb thrill ride encapsulated in just under seventy pages.
I am giving Strange Bedfellows: Fun with Etymology, by Anil and illustrated by Kalpart, 5 out of 5 stars. Readers looking to relax and thoroughly enjoy etymology for its own sake will appreciate every rambling thought so eloquently sketched by this author/illustrator pairing. I highly recommend Anil’s delightful book to anyone who appreciates humor on a higher plane and truly “gets the joke.”
Pages: 72 | ASIN: B085LFBGMS
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A Dog Named Zero and The Apple With No Name is a wonderful children’s book that teaches counting in an fun and imaginative way. What inspired you to write this book?
My older brother is a mathematics professor, and he said to me one day that he has spent a lifetime with numbers because of the number zero. And when I did my research and checked on what kind of counting picture books used the number zero, I didn’t find any. I am sure there are some, but I couldn’t find any, and the number zero is the most important number of all numbers.
How do you see this book being used by teachers and parent to educate their children?
That’s difficult to say. I hope teachers and parents will enjoy the humor in the book and use the boohooing and sniffing words in a way that will make children laugh. There is no better way to learn than through laughter.
Did the art in the book follow what you had already written, or did the writing follow the art?
That’s an excellent question. It happens both ways for all of my children’s picture books. I might draw a quirky character, and then the story comes from the drawing. There are times when the story comes first, and then I decide the art style I’ll use that fits the story.
Do you have plans to write more educational picture books?
I feel all children’s picture books are educational. Some are more specific with one point to be made, as in A Dog Named Zero and the Apple With No Name, than others. I have a new picture book that was published March 1st titled Letting Go. It’s about a leaf that doesn’t want to let go, a cycle of life story. And I have another picture book coming out titled Birds Fly, A Cat Tries on June 1st. It’s a wordless picture book about a cat who wants to fly. Each time the brave tabby tries, he fails. But in the end, with some help, the cat finally takes flight.
Both stories have a message, and although they are not as educational as a counting book, my point is, there is always a lesson to learn from every one of my picture books. Or at least, that is my hope.
My plan, though, is to publish at least one picture a year. This year is different, as I will have published the two I mentioned above, Letting Go and Birds Fly, A Cat Tries.
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From Grunt Work to Light Work: A Guide to Attracting Buyers, is the latest book written by Tamika M Murray, a writer and Social Worker based in New Jersey. This book is structured into two distinct parts. With a wealth of great information that is broken up into sections of focused content, I really appreciated the Table of Contents in this enlightening book because I was able to quickly reference and go to the sections I found most helpful. Each chapter also ends with discussion questions, which are thoughtful prompts that the reader can either answer themselves or discuss with others.
Part One of From Grunt Work to Light Work: A Guide to Attracting Buyers focuses on the Grunt Work – which is the hands on, physical work that is required to get a house prepared for sale. There are five chapters in this part: Get Organized, If it’s Broke, Please Fix it, Sprucing Up your Home, Lien on Me and You Need a Helping Hand. All these chapters are easy to read and informative. These chapters provide practical sound advice that I found to be immensely helpful. As mentioned, each chapter also has a helpful discussion session at the conclusion of the chapter. These are relevant and thought-provoking questions which all house vendors should consider.
A large part of this book is dedicated to using the laws of attraction to sell a house, and this is where Tamika M. Murray’s book stands out from other books on this topic. I was particularly interested in the Manifestation technique, which includes strategies such as using the 5 x 55 Method , Scripting, Affirmations, Visualizations, and so much more. These strategies are explained in considerable depth in the book, which I greatly appreciated because it made the content much more interesting and easy to understand. After an explanation of each strategy, there are several ‘workbook’ type pages, where the reader can put the strategy into action. Using these strategies, Murray explains how the reader can manifest an ideal buyer. Author Tamika Murray has been using the law of attraction since 2014, and her passionate and knowledgeable on the subject is evident throughout the book.
From Grunt Work to Light Work: A Guide to Attracting Buyers is an enlightening and informative book that is geared toward providing average homeowners with the tools they need to attract buyers. This illuminating guide combines experience and passion to create a book that will benefit any homeowner.
Pages: 125 | ASIN: B08Y4L9XKG
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All People Are Beautiful celebrates diversity and highlights the beauty of our differences. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I truly believe diversity is reality and that children need to know that our differences are what unite us, not divide us. I think this message is so important for kids to be exposed to until it becomes unconsciously integrated — until it becomes a truth they know deep down! I truly feel the conversation of diversity never gets old and can never be talked about too early. I feel our differences help this world be a really cool place to both live and love.
The art in this book is delightful and beautiful. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Cha Consul?
My partnership with Cha was kismet. Cha is an absolutely phenomenal illustrator. By the time we connected, I already had in my mind what I thought the illustrations would look like. Cha took my vision, added her creative flare and gave my words a face.
It was important to me that readers got to see bright colors, different skin tones, features, and faces of children from all over the world in this book. Cha helped me achieve that goal and I’m grateful. It was great to work with her because she loves diversity just as much as I do.
Interestingly enough, All People Are Beautiful was the first children’s book she ever illustrated, so I feel very special.
Because of COVID, locations, and our time difference, we did all the collaboration for All People Are Beautiful virtually from opposite sides of the world. Cha is based in the Philippines and I am based just outside Nashville, Tennessee, so there were lots of virtual video calls to make sure we aligned on the presentation.
I am forever grateful for her artistry and I am looking forward to working together again in the near future!
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?
I want readers to take away that everyone is beautiful regardless of what you look like, where you’re from, your culture, your hobbies, or anything else that makes you different. I want readers to know we like different things and that’s OK. Our differences are what unite us, not divide us. I want kids to know that it’s cool to talk about our differences in fun and interactive ways.
Do you plan to write more children’s book on this or other topics?
So I’m a true ENFP and a Creative, so I’m always on the go! I’ve actually recently finished writing a few new stories.
I’ve written a really cool story about a group of animal friends that decide to switch places for a day and realize it’s no fun being someone else. This is definitely another diversity themed book. I’ve also written another book about beautiful rainbows and the things the colors remind us of.
Both are books for early readers so I’m looking forward to sharing these with children everywhere.
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Who doesn’t need a little fun with their facts? When dry nonfiction material can be made more palatable, everyone wins. Limerick Comics, written by Robert Hoyman and illustrated by Steve Feldman, presents a mountain of facts while simultaneously handing readers entertaining limericks. The limericks do a wonderful job of drawing readers in and piquing interest while Feldman’s illustrations give readers much to ponder. They are colorful, detailed, and provide a perfect visual for both the limerick and the corresponding fact.
Hoyman and Feldman seem to have struck upon a fantastic vein in the nonfiction genre. I can see their limericks as a wonderful addition to middle school libraries and classrooms. They provide quick bites of science and history in easily digestible comic frames and short bursts of facts. I can say even as an adult reader, I learned quite a bit from Hoyman and Feldman’s comic in a short amount of time. From rollercoasters to food fights, this pair has created a comic that will most certainly appeal to young adult readers.
I would have given anything to have a book like this on hand for my own children. Encouraging them to read nonfiction material was always important to me, but it was difficult to find options that kept their interest. Hoyman and Feldman more than meet this challenge. Readers who appreciate and seek humor will love the limerick presentation, and educators will be instant fans of the accompanying facts.
Limerick Comics is a fun children’s picture book that educates as wells as it entertains.
Pages: 34 | ASIN: B07MFC7KQ5
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There may be no better time for a children’s book that celebrates and honors diversity than the present. Young readers are bound to have questions about the world around them and the feelings they perceive in the adults they encounter each day. All People are Beautiful, written by Vincent Kelly and illustrated by Cha Consul, is the visually stunning children’s picture book that drives home the fact that we are all beautiful through the differences in our talents, cultures, age, appearance, and race.
I am going to throw this out there in hopes the right person in each school system hears it–every school needs this book. Kelly and Consul’s children’s book is a must-have for every school library and would make a fantastic addition to a classroom collection on diversity. I can see this book fitting easily into several different social studies units for grades K-3. With truly beautifully-fashioned illustrations, All People are Beautiful quickly captures readers’ attention and makes for a fantastic read aloud. It’s not often that I tout a book as one suitable for repeated read-alouds, but this one is short enough and the message is a powerful one. Students would both benefit from and enjoy hearing it over and over again.
I am giving All People are Beautiful, written by Vincent Kelly and illustrated by Cha Consul, a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. This is the children’s book we all need. The message throughout Kelly and Consul’s work is one of unity, mutual respect, and harmony. There is no better theme, and there is no better addition to a child’s bookshelf.
Pages: 32 | ISBN: 1735950416
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Zero just wants to get his paws on that apple. The apple, who has no name, knows not what awaits him. Zero is in no way tall enough to reach the apple with no name and needs a little help from his friends. Counting their way from 0 to 10, the ever-growing group of friends cooperate to help Zero in his efforts. His friends vary in size and shape, but they all have one thing in common, they want nothing more than to give their friend a hand. Will they make it? Will Zero ever get his apple?
A Dog Named Zero and the Apple With No Name, by T.C. Bartlett, is the beautifully illustrated children’s book focused on counting. There are many counting books out there, but Bartlett has a whole new take on the concept. With a more advanced vocabulary that challenges readers, A Dog Named Zero and the Apple With No Name contains bits of humor that parents and teachers will also appreciate–those are the best kinds of children’s books!
I have used my share of counting books over the years as a parent and elementary teacher, and Bartlett’s work is one of the best I have seen. There is much more to this little gem than meets the eye. Each of the different animals in the series of numbers offers readers the opportunity for discussion. Parents and teachers will easily find ways to have conversations about why and how each type of animal might want to help Zero. There are plenty of teaching opportunities to be had within the pages of Bartlett’s work.
I highly recommend this adorable counting story to anyone looking for an alternative to the traditional counting books. A Dog Named Zero and the Apple With No Name makes a great addition to anyone building a library for infants and toddlers.
Pages: 48 | ISBN: 1733908617
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