Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Genius of William Steig: Updated!



My dear friend Colleen's comment below reminded me that, in anticipation of tomorrow's bee, I should post some illustrations from William Steig's brilliant 1970 book, The Bad Speller. Of course, having packed up half my house to move to Canada, I can't find my (original!) copy for the life of me. I post this one illustration I found on the web (send 'em if you got 'em!), but can also share the caption to my favorite illustration (I'll get it up here somehow): "MIGH, O MIGH, IZ SHE SERPRYZD TWO SEA A FLOUR OV SUTCH GRATE SIGHS." (Just imagine what William Steig would do with that. . .).

Trivia Question: With what word did the priceless Rebecca Sealfons win the 1997 National Spelling Bee? (hint: it's a word near and dear to me . . . )

See you tomorrow for the bee, prime time!

UPDATE: Monday, June 5, 2005

The answer to that Trivia Question was "euonym" (hence its proximity to my name. . .). Col, no idea what Rebecca missed the year before. Enlighten us, please (though I wish I could post your priceless imitation of her. . . hmmm. . .).

As it happens, I was looking for something else I couldn't find, but happened upon my copy of Steig's The Bad Speller, and have scanned some of my favorites. I'd like to dedicate these to my cherished Jennifer. Mysse yew, gerrlphrennd!








Funny, as I am scanning and uploading these, my daughter (just finishing kindergarten) is reading the book. She has been taught to write this year according to a system called "invented spelling," in which the children are encouraged to spell any way they hear, or choose to transliterate the word: in the beginning of the year, they focus on getting the first sound of the word right, then the last sound, and then send them off to first grade to muddle about with the tricky middle. I'm not sure what I think of it pedagogically, but I can't deny my daughter loves to write, and, at the very least, was not discouraged from writing by worrying how to spell. (As good a plug as any, I suppose.) She comes home with "books" in which every student has contributed a page with their own invented, Steigian spelling; they're a riot.

5 comments:

colleen said...

Ohhh. so easy... I won't post the answer so as not to give it away. Another question, which word did she miss on the previous year? I can still picture it...

Euonymous said...

Whoa, as Randy would say (on American Idol) -- funny I don't even remember his last name, he's just "Randy" -- we got a hot one tonight!

Colleen said...

Erythema..."Is it Eruuuuuuuthema or Err-A-thema?"

Jennifer said...

Ower frenz ken ullweez smel hoo wie ahr. . . migh o migh!

Euonymous said...

mmm, frenz bean hapi thei tuk lahng shours . . .