Horrible Histories: Wicked Words by Terry Deary and illustrated by Philip Reeve, paperback non-fiction, 191 pages, first published by Scholastic Ltd in 1996, this edition published in 2011.
Learn about the origins of the English language in this witty and engaging book from the Horrible Histories series.
Horrible Histories makes learning history lots of fun, and Wicked Words is no exception. I enjoyed it from start to finish, and learnt quite a number of things along the way! It includes history of the development of English as a language, from when Romans ruled Britain through to modern times. It also explains various facets of the language. There is information about words borrowed from other languages, and about the idiosyncrasies that litter the English language. You can learn about onomatopoeia, euphemisms, riddles, slang, spelling, grammar and important people in the world of words, among many other things that make English the language it is today. There are plenty of jokes as well as some word games that could be fun to play. My kids thought the ‘knock, knock’ jokes were terrible, but they still laughed!
Wicked Words is illustrated throughout with comic-like black and white drawings. These help to explain the text, while breaking it up and making it more light-hearted and fun to read. Some of these illustrations are very clever and funny.
Full of facts and insights into the development of the English language, Wicked Words is a fascinating read for middle primary school students and up. I really enjoyed reading this book and felt that I learnt plenty about words in the process!