Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.


“Working hard or hardly working?” he asks with a smile. I chuckle, pretending that I haven’t heard it 100 times before.

Wordplay can be fun. Cryptic crosswords? “A narrow ruler ponders. (8)” Chemistry jokes? “The foolish prisoner.” A style of humor popular with some members of my family? “Look at Marlon Stando over here.” Don’t ask.

“English from Head to Foot” explores wordplay through metaphors. “Head to Toe” plays with words in quite a different way and creates a blog post that’s a pleasure to read. Here’s an excerpt:

We turn to the elephant page. The lower lip trembles. She makes the elephant sound and stomps her foot with me, and I turn the page. To the very last page. She hardly lets me read it, refuses to wiggle her toe with me, and resumes the pre-book anger as soon as I snap the book closed. Sometimes at this point, she hurls herself to the floor, wailing about the injustice of the world, the world with never-ending books, the world with Mamas who actually go so far as to HIDE books.


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