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Eileen's Adventures in Wordland

Eileen's Adventures in Wordland

By Zillah K. Macdonald

New edition, 2010. Illustrations by Stuart Hay. Cathair na Mart: Evertype. ISBN 978-1-904808-60-2 (paperback), price: €11.95, £10.95, $14.95.

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Zillah Katherine Macdonald was born in 1885 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is noted for her children’s books, as well as for a series of “career romances for young moderns”.

Eileen’s Adventures in Wordland is Macdonald’s first novel for children, and is a real delight for lovers of words and wordplay. Eileen’s companion “X” leads her to encounters ranging from a meeting with Blighty, a word born during the first World War, to meeting with Grandmother Indo-European, who introduces Eileen to a number of her “language children”. Embellished by Stuart Hay’s charming illustrations, this “life story of our Word friends” will appeal to readers young and old who delight in the sounds and sense of language.


“How do I get to Wordland?” laughed X. “Oh, in all sorts of ways, ways that I mustn’t tell you. But how you could get there is different. There is only one direct way!” He pointed again to the dictionary.

“Through the dictionary?” questioned Eileen scornfully. “Then I’ll never get there, for I never could find anything in the dictionary—tiresome old thing!” She broke off in amaze­ment, for something very queer was happening to the dictionary. It certainly was bigger, and was even now growing steadily. As she went over to it and ruffled the leaves with her right hand, it opened in the middle, of its own accord, and she became aware that now it no longer looked like the same old Unabridged, but like something quite different—a wide-open, double-doored entrance to a strange sort of slanting tunnel that led up, up, endlessly; and right before her, going clickety-click, clickety-click, at a dizzy speed, were the steps of an escalator sliding steadily up the tunnel. On the wall was a huge sign reading: “Uptown Side for Wordland”.

“Please,” asked Eileen, as she stood, hesitating to step upon the moving stairs. “Please, where is the Downtown side?”

“There isn’t any,” answered X, “There isn’t any downtown to Wordland. How do you get back, do you mean? Well, I haven’t the least idea. Perhaps—perhaps you wo’n’t get back.”


HTML Michael Everson, Evertype, 73 Woodgrove, Portlaoise, R32 ENP6, Ireland, 2010-08-31

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