Grammar Is a Sweet, Gentle Song by Érik Orsenna
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews


In the spirit of The Little Prince, this enchanting fantasy about the adventures of a shipwrecked brother and sister is a book for young people best appreciated by grown-ups.

At the heart of its message is an impassioned plea for the magic and power of words. Jeanne, the tough-minded ten-year-old narrator, and Thomas, fourteen, are traveling to America on an ocean liner to visit their mother when a violent storm sinks their ship and tosses them up on an island. They are unhurt, but the shock of the experience leaves them without the ability to speak. Taken into the care of Monsieur Henri, an elderly islander, Jeanne and Thomas discover that the island is unlike any place they've ever been. There is the Word Market, where Monsieur Henri visits the Poets' and Song-Writers' Corner to see if they have any rhymes for sweet and mom. At town hall, pairs of words are married by the mayor. And Jeanne sneaks off to the Vocabulary of Love Shop, where a woman whose husband has left her wants to buy "a word that will make him understand how hurt I am, a mighty word that will make him ashamed." A celebration of language in all its forms, Grammar Is a Sweet, Gentle Song will delight confirmed word-lovers and inspire the uninitiated with the pleasures of the spoken and written word.

About Érik Orsenna

See more books from this Author
Érik Orsenna, a member of the French Academy, is the author of André Le Nôtre: Gardener to the Sun King. He is a distinguished economist and served as cultural advisor to former French president François Mitterand. Moishe Black is emeritus professor of French at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. He is the translator of Farewell, My Queen by Chantal Thomas.
Published April 1, 2004 by George Braziller Inc.. 120 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Rate this book!

Add Review