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Reviews of The Complete Idiot’s Guide To…

Weird Word Origins, World Mythology and Publishing Children’s Books

When my daughter was in 5th or 6th grade, her class along with some parent volunteers (I was one) went on a field trip to the Arizona State University to learn more about Mars and were treated to a presentation by a professor about word origins. The history behind words is really quite amazing.

In The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Weird Word Origins, Paul McFredries shares the history behind words like freelance which was coined in 1820 by Sir Walter Scott when he said: “I offered Richard the services of my Free Lances…” He was talking about mercenary knights of the Middle Ages who, in “bustling times” would sell their warrior skills to the highest bidder. By the end of the nineteenth century, the word had come to mean a self-employed journalist or writer. Nowadays it refers to anyone who is self-employed.

How about gadzooks, flibbertigibbet, yacht or scrimmage? Find out the history behind these and more with The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Weird Word Origins which retails for around $10-11 on Amazon.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to World MythologyNot only is my interest piqued by the history behind words, but also by the history and value of myths in society. In the introduction to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to World Mythology, the authors, Evans Lansing Smith, Ph.D. and Nathan Robert Brown, share that myths have nothing to do with fact or fiction, but with truth and how they have been used through out time to teach lessons, express emotions and the meaning of life.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to World Mythology explores legends and tales from all corners of the globe from gods and goddesses to modern day mythology in pop culture.

My son was quite thrilled to discover the Vomiting Creator (Bushongo) who’s acts of creation are quite involuntary when he begins heaving and retching up the sun, moon, stars and creatures, including men. Yep, definitely the kind of thing that boys find interesting.

Ancient legends from Egyptian, Celtic, Teutonic, Norse, Japanese, Mexican, Native American and many other civilzations can be found within the pages of this book, which retails for around $14 on Amazon as well.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books

By no means am I the writer in our family. That talent passed me by and has been placed in the very capable hands of my daughter and son. My daughter spends hours writing her stories and I’m sure will become a published author some day. My son spends more time drawing the pictures for his stories than writing the actual story, but I’m sure this will change over time and felt it’s never to early for them to learn how to publish a book.

When the third edition of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books arrived on our doorstep, my son looked at me and informed me that he was going to use this book to publish his book for other kids to read. I don’t know how the author, Harold D. Underdown, fit all these nuggets of information into this book, but it is jam-packed with everything one would need to know from the very start to the very end of publishing a children’s book.

This book addresses the common hurdle “I don’t know what to write!”, encourages writers to keep at it with the old adage “practice makes perfect” and seeking out a writer’s group for feedback. There are 33 chapters in this book with advice on how to write books children and parents will love, insider information on publishers and professional strategies. It retails for around $13, again from Amazon.

All three of these books were recently released in August of this year and are certainly worth another look so be sure to check them out.

Julie Sig

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