The Return Of The Word Spy by Ursula Dubosarsky (Penguin Books Australia)

Ursula Dubosarsky is the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2020 – 21. So, I couldn’t go past ‘The Return Of The Word Spy’ – by the laureate and illustrated by Tohby Riddle – a non-fiction book, which was very cleverly positioned on the Junior Fiction shelves of our local library.  

This wonderful book playfully presents an overview of the English language and its history too. The author’s voice is funny and cheeky throughout! 


I’ve never come across a book that so clearly and easily explains the role of all the players in a sentence, and their moods and tenses too! The explanations of grammar in this book are simple for primary and middle school kids to read and follow on their own, and are studded with funny anecdotes that will keep them engaged!

Each chapter finishes with a puzzle. You use all the answers from these puzzles to decipher a message at the end of the book. Children who like word games, history and non-fiction will be entertained by this book. Even if they are not into words and puzzles and grammar, I would recommend offering this book to your child – they are sure to find something of interest in here!

Here’s what Mr.7 & I enjoyed:

We were fascinated by the feel of braille. By feeling our way through the raised dots of the braille alphabet we could appreciate the focus and skill required to read braille.


We learned to finger spell the alphabet. You’ll be interested to find that the vowels A-E-I-O-U are made by just pointing to the five fingers on your hand, starting from the thumb for A, and ending on the pinky for U.  Mr 7 and I can now communicate via finger spelling!

Suggested age: Read aloud to 5+. Read by self 7+. Recommended for a confident reader.

Published by Penguin Books Australia, 2017

If you would like this book for your bookshelf, check out your local bookshops, because bookshops are amazing places and should be supported to keep them open! However, the convenience of clicking from your comfy sofa is sometimes a necessity. In that case, Booktopia it! 

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