Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

5 stars

This book was hysterical. I LOVE the nearly bombastic vocabulary the Nollopians use early on… and the premise is fabulous.

Nollop is a small island nation named for Nevin Nollop, who gave us the pangram “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. They even have a huge statue of Nollop with his sentence underneath.

But one day, a tile falls off, making the sentence incomplete.

Rather than FIXING it, the council decides it’s a sign from Nollop that the letter Z should be stricken from the language. Naturally.

So, three strikes, you’re out! Upon your third slip-up, you’re banished from the island. (Unless you are seven or younger.)

Well, the statue is really old, and soon another tile falls. Now the letter Q has been stricken as well. (You see where this is going, right?)

Eventually, the council accepts a challenge. If someone else can come up with a sentence containing all 26 letters that is no more than 32 letters long, they will rescind the edicts banning whichever letters have fallen.

Eventually, only Ella Minnow Pea is left to fight the good fight… and the only letters remaining are, appropriately enough, LMNOP.

You must read this book.

Here are some great quotes:

“And please understand my unwillingness to trespass upon the Pony Expresspath; the sprinting Pony brother-couriers are Mercury-swift these days, and I would prefer that my obituary not read, “She was ingloriously run over by a fleet-footed fourteen-year-old.””

That made me laugh out loud.

“2. There is no such thing as accident or misspeak, only grossly underapplied discoursal perspicacity, with unguarded exposure to distractional digression.”

Yeah, that’s the kind of governmental edict one could take seriously. Wow.


  1. Very fun!

    And really impressive when you consider he wrote the second half of the book almost entirely without the letter "d".