A noteworthy review of Sayings and Phrases from School Library Journal on April 1, 2008
Each volume features more than 30 commonly used but curious-sounding phrases. Following an introductory definition of the term ‘idiom,’ watercolor cartoons of googly-eyed children suggest the most apparent meaning of each phrase. Coupled with each picture is a short narrative that illustrates the phrase’s true meaning in context. The idiom’s meaning is then stated plainly in enlarged colorful type. While these books will not provide historical insight to those curious about the origins of English idioms, ESL students will find them useful in understanding a wide variety of the language’s colloquialisms. While ‘ants in your pants,’ ‘let your hair down,’ and most other phrases are likely to be encountered in everyday conversation, some phrases may strike even fluent English speakers as obscure (e.g., ‘loaded for bear,’ ‘sitting in a catbird seat’). In spite of the subtitle, not all of the phrases in You Let the Cat Out of the Bag! are animal related. Each title includes a table of contents that lists the idioms within. Slightly more informative than Catherine Snodgrass’s Super Silly Sayings That Are over Your Head (Starfish, 2004) and Laura Hambleton and Sedat Turhan’s Monkey Business: Fun with Idioms (Milet, 2007), these accessible titles will be useful in most collections.