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Newsletter – Word Collectors March 8, 2024

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Hello Book Bums Families!

This week in the newsletter we share a book about a beloved childhood character, Winnie-the Pooh. There's more to his story than you may know. We also think about building libraries of words, English language quirks, and springing forward. is an Amazon Associate; We earn from qualifying purchases. This means that if you click on a link to and make a purchase, We may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. We do recommend the products. Feel free to find them by other means.

Word of the Week

ebullient (e-bull-yent) adjective/describing word - cheerful and full of energy

Tigger is an ebullient character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, always bouncing and looking for adventure.

Literary Calendar
March 8 is National Proofreading Day.
Despite our best efforts, all of us sometimes miss spelling or grammar errors in our writing.
One proofreading tactic is reading your writing aloud. If punctuation is amiss or missing, you will notice as you verbalize the text.
Another strategy, particularly to catch spelling mistakes, is to read your text backwards. This prevents your brain from making meaning and skipping over errors.

From Our Bookshelves

Did you know that a real American black bear inspired the stories A. A. Milne wrote about Winnie-the-Pooh? It’s true, and you can read all about it in the book Winnie, The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh, by Sally M. Walker.

"A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside."


Winnie the Pooh
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A. A. Milne had a son named Christopher Robin, and Christopher Robin had a stuffed bear named Edward. One day Christopher Robin went to the zoo and met a bear, Winnie—short for Winnipeg, and Christopher Robin was captivated. He talked about the bear all the way home. That night, Edward’s name was changed to Winnie-the-Pooh, and A. A. Milne began creating stories about him. Over time, those stories were recorded in four books. The lovable characters inhabiting the Hundred Acre Wood have had vibrant lives outside the books as well. Pooh Bear, in particular, has become a cuddly philosopher, and his witty, loving remarks are often quoted. "Any day spent with you is my favorite day," and "A hug is always the right size," are two fan favorites.

Did you notice the hyphens in the title of the book? We're using them when we write Winnie-the-Pooh's name as well. When Milne wrote the character, he included the hyphens. When Disney later bought the rights to the story, the hyphens disappeared from the bear's name.

A. A. Milne was an English writer best known for his Winnie-the-Pooh stories and his poems for children. Here’s a poem he wrote that seems perfectly suited for this newsletter.

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Tips for Raising Readers and Writers

One of the aims of readers and writers is to expand our vocabularies. This doesn’t mean we have to run out to the store, purchase some vocabulary workbooks, and get to work. Please don’t do that. Instead, let’s decide to simply gather words from what we’re reading and listening to.

Let’s challenge ourselves (and our families) to notice and collect . . .

more descriptive words than said
murmured, spat, shouted, cried, choked, spewed

less-familiar color words
cobalt, alabaster, puce, sepia, graphite, sienna

crazy sounding words
bamboozled, flabbergasted, tomfoolery, discombobulated, shenanigans

words describing smells
fragrant, aromatic, fusty, malodorous, perfumy, woodsy

beautiful words
blossom, diaphanous, cherish, elixir, facility, ebullient

words that sound like the sounds they’re naming (onomatopoeic words)
smack, hiss, achoo, hiccup, hum, whoosh

Let’s come up with as many words as we can find that could go together in a category and strive to use them throughout the week. It’s time to stretch our vocabularies!

Tips for Families

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You know the drill. It’s time to get ready for springing forward. You’ll want to remember to adjust any clocks around the house lest you arrive somewhere an hour later than you meant to. We grumble about it, but Daylight Savings Time (DST) is a fact of life—at least for the time being.

In truth, the loss of an hour’s worth of sleep has proven to be problematic. Not only can we be a bit grumpy, but more auto accidents are reported after springing forward, and it’s been reported that we’re even more inclined to have heart attacks a few days afterward. For those who might struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a kind of depression that is triggered by fewer sunshiny days, the lack of morning sunlight is a bit of a letdown.

Here are some tips to help us minimize the grumbling:

1) Go to bed about 15-20 minute earlier each night before the time change. It may be just enough time for your body to adjust.
2) Eat dinner a bit earlier, too, to trigger your body in preparation for the earlier end to the day.
3) Get some sunlight on Sunday to set your body clock that helps to regulate sleep.
4) If you’re feeling drowsy while driving, be mindful. Sometimes just noticing it is enough to keep you alert.
5) Go to bed at your regular time on Sunday night so you’re sure to begin the workweek having had plenty of sleep.

Challenge: Set a timer for one minute and see how many songs can you think of that include the word time in the title? There are more than one hundred of them!

Wordology Workshop

  • The Latin root bull means bubble.
  • In our Word of the Week, ebullient, the bubbling is metaphorical, referring to a bubbly personality.
  • In other English uses the meaning is literal.
  • Bulla simply means a blister in the skin, and ebulliate is to boil over like a bubbling pot.

Practical Grammar

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When you do something unintentionally, do you say, I did it on accident, or do you say, I did it by accident?

Here’s what I’ve recently learned:

The proper way to say it is . . . by accident.

It’s likely that the variant came from an over-generalization considering we do things on purpose. Perhaps some have assumed the opposite would be on accident. This is incorrect. It’s by accident.

I believe I’ve been saying it incorrectly. How about you?

Just for Fun

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