Eye Rhymes is a collection of 47 humorous verses based on words that look as if they should rhyme but don't, and words that rhyme but don't look like they should. Some examples include:
- Bomb, Comb, Tomb
- Bier, Deer, Fear, Here
The playful book is illustrated with colorful, cartoon-like drawings and supplemented online with a sound track by Alec Baldwin and Blythe Danner, who recite the verses. The book makes an excellent gift for children ages 9 to 99.
"As a journalist and writer, I've always had a fascination with language," de Cuevas says. "Like many other aspects of human culture, writing is entirely arbitrary. We arbitrarily assign sounds to symbols, but popular usage modifies those assignments, so that language is always in flux. How speech and writing sound to one generation may not sound the same to the next generation, or even to speakers of the same language in different geographical areas."
Perfect for youngsters who are just beginning to learn about the complexities of the English language as well as masterful writers, Eye Rhymes highlights the unique nature of the English language in all its quirkiness and demonstrates the arbitrariness of letters as they relate to sounds.
Along with providing an enlightening exploration of the human language, Eye Rhymes offers:
- Unique & funny rhymes that readers can imbue with their own meanings
- An interactive online book, read aloud by Alec Baldwin & Blythe Danner
- An educational resource for students of the English language
- Fun and humorous illustrations by Sara Ferguson & Janet Young
"Dictionaries and grammar books help stabilize language to some extent, but nothing can ever fix it permanently in place," says de Cuevas. "Language is living stuff, the product of human minds and cultures, which themselves are ever changing and evolving. You can't pin them down. In that sense, language is a truly democratic institution. It's what people do, not what the authorities tell them to do."
John de Cuevas received his B.A. in Romance Languages at Harvard and later studied biology, ecology, and evolution as a graduate student at SUNY - Stony Brook. He previously worked as a professor of science writing at Harvard University and Lesley College, and wrote regularly for various publications including Harvard Magazine. He currently creates word puzzles, which have been featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine and are currently featured on the Harvard Magazine website and PuzzleCrypt.com.
Websites: EyeRhymesPlus.com, PuzzleCrypt.com, HarvardMagazine.com/topic/puzzles