What’s So Great About Silent E? The Thoughts of Sunnie Rae
by Deanna T. Thompson
Rare Books Media

"My Tape would Tap, Hope would Hop, Ripe fruit would Rip, and my Spine would Spin!"

Everyone knows that some big things begin with the letter “E.” For example, “elephant” quickly comes to mind. But what is one to make of all the words ending with an “e” that is often silent? In this spirit of word-pronunciation curiosity, Thompson ponders the possibilities of a series of simple, small words containing the silent “e” as a last letter. When riding down a long, snowy hill, for example, a child rides a “tube.” But without “Silent E,” one would be traveling in a “tub.” How silly that would be. Furthermore, instead of being “cute,” one would be “cut,” and this does not sound at all like a good situation. How about Superman, whose wearing of a “cape” allows the mighty hero to fly? If Superman simply wore a “cap,” that certainly wouldn’t do much good. And the “cane” Grandpa uses to walk around safely? A “can” wouldn’t be very helpful. By the book’s end, the speaker—a young girl who realizes her brother “Pete” would instead be her “pet”—embraces the importance Silent E plays.

An entertaining read for children and adults alike, Thompson’s Silent E predicament is presented in a fun-loving manner, both with the text and the accompanying artwork by Sunnie R. Thompson. Silly situations abound due to the simple absence of the all-important “e” at the end of many basic words. This is playfully reinforced with lively, colorful pictures, resulting in a unique children’s book, encouraging playful imagination surrounding spelling and pronunciation. A wonderful little book to share with young children in one’s life—regardless of whether they can yet read themselves—this title simultaneously teaches an important English language rule. The author succeeds in celebrating the peculiarity of the Silent E phenomenon in a whimsical and endearing fashion.

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