Sharing a love of language
Selig loves words. He loves how they sound, how they taste and how they rattle around in his brain. He especially adores the way they play on the strings of his heart. Selig is drawn to collect what he cherishes, and his pockets, hat and socks are filled with jottings.
Like many who are consumed with zeal, Selig is regarded as peculiar. His parents worry about him. His classmates ridicule him, calling him an oddball and nicknaming him "Wordsworth." Selig grows lonely.
But life takes an intriguing turn when, in a dream, Selig is visited by a "swarthy, swirling man," a Dijinn. This genie, in typical form, is prepared to grant a wish. Selig, however, chooses to ask a question. The genie's ensuing reply sends Selig on his way, prepared to find purpose in his life.
What Selig discovers on his journey is that words don't belong tucked away. They must be shared. His words become verse for a poet and his enchanting adjectives bring new life to the edibles of an unsuccessful baker. It is not until Selig returns to nurturing his heart, however, that he can truly leave loneliness behind. True love, aptly named Melody, brings him contentment and the resolve to continue sharing his words with "legions of lucky people."
Roni Schotter clearly conveys her own love of language in this endearing picture book. The story is pleasantly packed with alliteration and spotlights a host of interesting words, set apart in the text by italics. Giselle Potter, who has illustrated several ALA notable books, enhances Schotter's story with her simply styled drawings. New readers will undoubtedly yearn to read the confetti of language that litters every page. Logophiles young and old will delight in this satisfying nod to the power of words.
Jennifer Robinson is a teacher in Baltimore.