Because excerpts are great for any serious reader whom is pondering, “Do I want to read this?”  The following excerpt is from The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Unseen Guestthe third book in the series by Maryrose Wood.

Without further introduction, I give thee an excerpt:

[BEWARE: it might contain spoilers. It depends on what you consider a spoiler though… I think all information from this passage can be inferred from the summary of the book. But, just in case, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.]

But before we continue any further with the adventures of Miss Penelope Lumley and the three Incorrigible children as they venture into the forest in pursuit of a runaway ostrich, let us look away for a moment (for they will have to do quite a lot of hup, hup, hupping before they get far enough into the woods for things to become interesting) and consider some matters of linguistic significance, starting with three letters: namely, P, O, and E.

When the admiral first said POE, Miss Lumley thought he meant Poe, as in Edgar Allen Poe. This is because POE and Poe are homonyms, which means they are two different words that are pronounced the same way.

POE is also an acronym, which is a word made out of the first letters of other words. To the admiral it stood for Permanent Ostrich Enclosure, although POE could just as easily stand for something else: Pie Over Everything, for example, a tasty, if filling, notion. Or Ponder On Elks, which as you already know, is nearly impossible to avoid doing once you have been told (and told, and told yet again, in the strictest possible terms) not to ponder on elks.

Some acronyms prove so catchy that they become words in their own right. Marine explorers know that “scuba” is an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Those of you who enjoy shooting laser beams at your friends for sport can bamboozle your opponents by crying out, “Here comes my Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation!” just before you fire.

If you now think that you would rather confront a herd of Profoundly Outraged Elephants in a Perilously Oscillating Elevator than hear another word about homonyms, acronyms, or any other kind of nyms – well, think again. There is power in words used carelessly. Consider how disappointed you would feel if, after booking an expensive spa vacation, you found yourself on holiday with the Society of Professional Accountants instead. (Note: A word that no one has heard of is called a whatsthatonym, since the listener is bound to say, “What’s that?” in response. A word that no one cares about is a sowhatonym. Alas, there is presently no word in English that means a word that does not exist, but perhaps the clever among you can invent one.)

pg. 136-137

Isn’t this passage fun, engaging, and educational?! I certainly thought it was. Considering the target audience is 8-12, kids (But, there are plenty of adults as well that do not know what a homonym is, so there is that to ponder as well.) can learn quite a bit from Ms. Wood’s books.

However, there are those readers that did not have very encouraging notes to make about this book. And though I am not done with the book, I have to say I disagree (though I do understand their point of view) with the first few reviews on Goodreads. I perused these reviews before I started reading the third installment in this series, and I have to say, I was a bit disappointed. I know it’s commonplace to always need a destination in mind when doing or going anywhere, but I argue that there are some tasks and ambitions in life where the journey is truly more important than the destination. This series is an example of one of these ambitions. I read things that gave the following gist: The series is losing steam and my interest.

How unfortunate… for them. I hope they stuck with it.

I say stop worrying so much about the mystery, the answers will come when they do. For now, enjoy this wonderful world that Maryrose Wood has created and have a jolly good time!

Lastly, what are your thoughts on this excerpt? Is this something you would want to read or read to a little one in your life?


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