10 Sept 2011

The Little Grammar People

I am aware that this is the post where I sort of thumb my nose at you. It's sort of a na-na-na-na-na I'm better than you-ou taunt. It's not meant to be though.

I want to tell you about Nuri Mass's The Little Grammar People, and yet when there is only one copy available on Abebooks, and it is priced at $375.00, I am equally aware that most of you are not going to be able to use my recommendation even if you wanted to.

I tell you though, because in my humble opinion this is absolutely totally the best book for introducing grammar to children and if you spend enough time haunting second-hand book stores then you just might get lucky as I did. My copy, shown below, is not in the best of conditions, and it cost $30.00, so it wasn't cheap, but a new grammar text book can cost this much, and won't be nearly as good. Keep an eye out.

In a very similar vein to M L Nesbitt's Grammar-Land, The Little Grammar People is the parts of speech explained in a story. The Foreword says it better than I can:
Here is something entirely new in juvenile literature, a strikingly original play book that, while telling a charming fairy story, gives small children a grasp of English grammar that would take years of dull lessons to teach.

The story tells of the adventures of Linda and Barry among the quaint little people who lie at the roots of our language. Among the fairy folk there are Sir Pronoun, obliging stand-in for busy little Miss Noun; critical Madam Adjective of infinitely changing moods; Master Verb, for ever being hauled over the coals in the Grammar court on the charge of irregularity; small boy Preposition, enlisting Miss Noun's help in the forming of adverbial and adjectival phrases when Lady Adverb and Madam Adjective are too busy or too lazy to appear in person; Wee Baby Conjunction, King Speech's favourite little handmaiden, who holds his hand and guides him smoothly over all the rocky places. The climax comes when Linda and Barry find themselves in the palace of King Speech and his exquisite Queen Poetry and are told by the gracious king of the life of "lifeless" things.

THe delicacy and imagination that distinguished Nuri Mass's Australian Wild Flower Fairies makes The Little Grammar People a book for all children who have fairies in their hearts; and teachers will find it invaluable in helping young pupils to understand and respect their own language. Celeste Mass's illustrations, individual and finely drawn, are the book's perfect accompaniment.
The Little Grammar People is intended for a younger audience than is Grammar-Land, and it is proving perfect for Jemimah with two terms of Simply Grammar under her belt.

We use the book very simply, reading a chapter covering one of the parts of speech each week. After Jemimah narrates she tries to think of examples of each of the different types she's been learning about, for example personal, demonstrative, relative and interrogative pronouns or common, proper, collective and abstract nouns. Before each week's lesson we review the one before. So far I have been delighted with what we've covered, and what has been retained. I think we have learned more in the first four weeks of this term than in the previous two terms added together.

We will finish this book by the end of the year. Next year we will continue on working at a sedate pace through our Simply Grammar text and possibly zip through Grammar-Land in third term for a bit of a refreshing break.

If you are able to find a copy of this book, I really do think you will love it. If you can't though, Grammar-Land is pretty good as well. And at less than $10.00 a copy it is way more affordable.

Personally, I think the bookseller selling The Little Grammar People on Abe is off on his own journey to Fairy Land if he thinks anyone is going to pay $375.00 for a book. Maybe he might meet up with Miss Noun while he's there? One of the visitors to the Grammar Kingdom is a school friend of Barry's named Phil. His desire is 'a silly goose'. Don't say I said so, but I think maybe the bookseller's might be as well!!


  1. I have a free pdf version of Grammarland but have searched for The Little Grammar People and like you have encountered the same. We'll stick with GL in case we never find TLGP. Is that Simply Grammar by Karen Andreola? What do you think of it? Maybe, maybe one day I will be able to nah na na nah nahh you back.......probably not!

  2. Yes, I also own my own copy. I don't know if you remember but many years ago (on CM&F) a friend and I were going to try and put this book online. We spent ages typing it all out... and then after MUCH research found out that the publisher would not release copyright. There had been a hulabaloo with it all and was not going to be released as public domain. :(

    It is THE perfect book to use for copywork AND dictation too.

    And, IMO, it is much nicer and easier to understand that KA's Simply Grammar. :)

  3. Renelle, is your copy a legit copy? Just wondering where you sourced it from? I'd like the pdf version myself. :)

  4. Susan, My pdf of Grammar-Land is from Freebie of the Day. You can buy the print version from Readings.com.au for $21.95.

    Simply Grammar is almost identical to Charlotte Mason's 'First Grammar Lessons' Parts I and II with Victorian pictures added. It is okay. I am not sorry I have it, but I am not ecstatic about it. Miss Mason's booklets are probably better value if you have access to them, because I use my own pictures anyhow.

  5. Hi Susan, Ours is from Freebie of The Day same as Jeanne's. They are only free for a short period of time and then that's it, til next time I guess. It would have been wonderful to have TLGP published, fooey.

  6. Oh Renelle, I totally read your comment all wrong!! Silly duffa that I am!

    I read that you had a pdf of TLGP... not GL.

    Argh, you gals were lovely. Probably thought I was a little looney though :)

  7. Beautiful! Jeanne, I've been meaning to tell you I love your Theological Minute widget. I've developed the habit of always reading it before I even read your posts. Thanks!

  8. Yes Susan, you are a little looney! aren't we all. When you live with something or someone (ourselves) for so long it becomes 'normal'.hehehehe. But that's why we like you so much! Different is good and to be celebrated. Have a sunshiny day. Blesssings, Renelle

  9. he he he:) silly goose is right:) I've never been able to find any Nuri Mass books second hand (so far) I guess I'll keep hoping....

  10. Yes ma'am, I am certainly coveting your copy of The Little Grammar People!

  11. I have Grammar Land, it really is a great book! where did you get your Nuri Mass from? your special 2nd hand book shop.

  12. HA! Nearly every time I type in a book title I'm curious about, one of your blog posts pops up :)

  13. I know this is an old post but just in case - I have a copy and have loved it - but now my children are all in high school, well, truth is it just sits there. If anyone is after a copy and wanted to make a realistic offer (it cost me a fair bit to buy it in the first place!) please let me know. lindamaher08 at gmail dot com. Would rather someone was using it that it just sitting on my shelf.

  14. Now available from Living Book Press in softcover for only $19.95AUD


  15. Found pdf for under $10 US. Thank you for sharing. We have used Grammarland in the past.

    1. https://www.livingbookpress.com/shop/nuri-mass/the-little-grammar-people/?v=7516fd43adaa


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