The Word Burglar Dictionary Designers!

Oolong. Guffaw. Bellicose. Lollygag. Onomatopoeia!

So many words, but so little time.

Did you know children’s vocabulary nearly doubles between grades 3 and 7? Help your kids learn new words with an activity inspired by Chris Cander’s The Word Burglar. Grab those magazines piling up on the coffee table and start creating your own dictionary.

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Your Kids Will Never Know It’s Math

Summer is right around the corner and kids are already squirming in their desks, ready to leave learning behind. But you can keep that growing brain engaged, even after the final school bell rings. Invite your child to put on “math goggles” for all the activities in Robin A. Ward’s book Math + Art = Fun. Together, you and your wiggly one will learn about artists around the world, recreate famous paintings and sculptures, and keep those math concepts fresh.

Here’s an example of what mathematical magic can happen when you look at art with “math goggles” on.

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Hoo’s Your Favorite Author?

When you work in publishing and you meet someone new, she, or he, either asks what your favorite book is tells you she has written a book. Logical conversational gambits, both. The problem is, if you work in publishing, you are not a gourmet reader with one favorite volume, you are a gourmand, with volumes of favorites. The reason you are in the business of books is often labeled “psychic fulfillment,” but it is really because you love to read. Sometimes more than anything. So, it’s awfully hard to answer that question without becoming tedious.

It is easy, however, to answer politely by recommending a few favorite books on a particular subject. And since everyone wants to talk writing with publishing folk (who really love reading the most), a list of excellent books on writing will keep conversation from stalling. Or turning back to bracketology.

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Big Talking

It just stands to reason that the state with the tallest tales should have the most engaging expressions. Texas diction is chock full of wit and whimsy, valuable advice and truisms. Whether you want to cook up a whopper, shoot straight or never say pea turkey about nothin’, you can find a delightful expression for every occasion in this great state. If you enjoy a fine—or fun—turn of phrase, there are Texas sayings that will have you grinning like a calf eating cockleburs. You’ll never have to mince words again.

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The Rodeo Diet

Everybody’s something-free these days: gluten-free, dairy-free, tree nut-free and more. We know so much more about how our marvelous bodies work than ever before, and we know what fuel they need to function optimally.

Now that it’s rodeo time, let’s remember that it’s ok to be fried-twinkie free, or cotton-candy-free, but some foods are sacred traditions that must be respected. To function optimally during these early spring days of mutton-busting, barrel-racing and steer-roping, barbecue must be administered. A little or a lot. Eaten at a cook-off, a booth at Reliant Arena or in your own backyard.

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Put Some Spring in Your Text

We’ve been knee deep in baseball books this past year, and aside from interactions with the charming authors and a new understanding of America’s favorite pastime, what has been most delightful is discovering the richness of baseball language.

Old-fashioned, descriptive, passionate and creative, baseball terminology presents a verbal feast unmatched by any industry accessible to minors. And though much of it may have been coined before Branch Rickey was weaned, it’s not obsolete: sportswriters and sportscasters use these expressions regularly, without the least facetiousness. Their freedom and delight with language are inspirational.

Baseball season is nigh. Whether Grapefruit League or Cactus, teams have lathered on the sunscreen and started Spring Training. While they’re warming up, we should, too. To honor the season, let’s all commit to putting some earnest, old-school expressiveness into our writing, whatever our subject.

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