The Naughty Prince by Benoît Debecker

The Naughty Prince (2001), written and illustrated by Benoît Debecker, was quite an interesting little book. The ending was so unexpected. Since I read mostly children’s picture books, I run across a lot of cutesy little book with a sweet, yet unbelievable corn syrupy ending. This book did not have that problem. I liked it because it was realistic in that some people are never going to change, no matter what how much good information or how much intervention they are afforded, they will still be unlovable sourpusses.

As Fergie said, “Fairy tales don’t always have a happy ending, do they!”

This book expresses that sentiment exactly. After finishing this book I thought twice before reviewing this because of that. I kinda’ didn’t want it to end up with a cute little wrapped up fairy tale ending and I got what I asked for because this book did not have a cute little fairy tale ending, and I liked that. I think that if it would have had a fairy tale ending, I wouldn’t have liked it. I am debating whether to read this to the kids in my classroom. I’m still undecided, but I’m leaning towards yes. So now, on to the review:

The book begins with:

Once there was a little prince who didn’t love anything or anybody.

Luckily for him, and even luckier for everyone else, Prince Niles lived on a deserted planet lost at the ends of the universe.

Prince Niles hated happiness, and detested niceness. His favorite past time was saying wicked things and thinking wicked thoughts. However, one day while looking across the skies, he saw a beautiful planet that was blue, yellow, red, and green. It was exactly what he hated. How dare they be happy?

He believed that he absolutely must put a stop to it. He jumps into his rocket and determines to put a stop to it. He is going to flood the planet with black goo, but he pushes the accelerate button instead of the BLACK GOO button and he ends up making a crash landing. A crash landing directly into a crowd of happy people. How do you think that makes him feel? Well, I guess you’re going to have to read it and find out for yourself!

Pick it up at your local library!

Language Travels or (Why Some Words Don’t Follow Rules)

Language travels from place to place, and mixes and merges with other languages. It’s been happening that way for a long time, it’s just that sometimes we forget and wonder why some words don’t follow rules. It’s because of the language of origin.

In my Theories of 2nd Acquisition Language class, one of my classmates, Josh explained how much of a mutt the English is. Why does it have so many more phonemes than the Hawai’ian language for instance. The Hawai’ian language is a very simple language. However, it’s a pure language, while English is not.

This came up because I was asking my teacher how to explain to my students why “ea” in weather doesn’t follow the “when two vowels go walking” rule; why isn’t it pronounced more like weether instead of the way it is. That’s when we had a great discussion about it.

So, the next time you think about trying to explain why, just save yourself some time and tell them that that particular word is a rule-breaker.

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