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Ounce Dice Trice (New York Review Children's Collection) Hardcover – September 8, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I want every children's book editor and also every primary and middle school teacher and librarian in America to read this book. It is the antidote to plotting, plot-driven, two-line synopsizable, anti-imagination books....[Ounce Dice Trice] can be read cover to cover, back to front, middle to end, upside down, any way you like. "  --Daniel Pinkwater, Weekend Edition Saturday, NPR, 12/12/09

“Ben Shahn’s drawings turn Ounce, Dice, Trice, a word-nonsense book by Alastair Reid, into an art book.”–Los Angeles Times

“The book, with more than 100 pictures by Ben Shahn, was designed to amuse and the words belong on the borderline where ‘the poet and the child meet.’” –The New York Times

"For decades, New Yorker writer Alastair Reid has been collecting words, weird ones. In Ounce, Dice, Trice, the words play tricks on each other and on the reader. Gongoozler. Piddocks. Mumruffin. Reid twists them into rhymes and draws odd connections between them in this book part dictionary, part gonomony receptacle...With black-and-white sketches by painter Ben Shahn, Ounce, Dice, Trice amounts to great fun for the average gongozzler (idle person) of any age." –The Bergen County Record

"There are 57 pages of this delightful nonsense, with equally delightful illustrations. My wife and I love it." –David Halperin

“Alastair Reid is a word magician.” –Bill Buford

“Ben Shahn is among the most important American artists of this century.” –Library Journal

Ounce, Dice, Trice, an Alastair Reid book of poems for juveniles, introduces children to the fun of words. Introducing children to words in any form is, to my mind, one of the noblest of endeavors. Alastair himself has had great fun with words, both poetically and prosaically.” –Los Angeles Times

If you like nonsense words with meanings they ought to have then you’ll like this book. If you get tired of counting to 10 in an ordinary way, try it ounce, dice, trice, quartz, quince, sago, serpent, oxygen, nitrogen, and denim. The pictures are fine too. An enjoyable book.” –Los Angeles Times

About the Author

Alastair Reid is a poet, translator, essayist, and scholar of Latin American literature. He had been on the staff of The New Yorker since 1959 and has translated works by Pablo Neruda and Jorge Luis Borges. Among his many books for children are A Balloon for a Blunderbuss, I Keep Changing, and Millionaires (all illustrated by Bob Gill), and Supposing (illustrated by Abe Birnbaum). In 2008 he published two career-spanning collections of work, Inside Out: Selected Poetry and Translations and Outside In: Selected Prose.

Ben Shahn (1898–1969) was a painter, muralist, print-maker, and illustrator. He was best known for his socially and politically informed artwork, including a famous series of paintings depicting the trial of the anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti. His 1956 Charles Eliot Norton lectures were collected and published as The Shape of Content, and he illustrated numerous books of poetry. Ounce Dice Trice is the only book he illustrated that was written specifically for children.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
  • Series: New York Review Children's Collection
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: NYR Children's Collection (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590173201
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590173206
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.5 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
One of my favorite books, all about words - some real, taken out of context, and listed by categories, like: "Light Words" (lissom, sibilant, nimble...), "Names for Elephants" (Wilbur, Bendigo, Wendell Tubb, Deuteronomy...), etc. Other words are completely invented and defined such as "a GONGOZZLER is an idle person who is always stopping in the street and starting at a curious object like a TINGLE-AIREY." The illustrations by Ben Shahn are also wonderful. Great fun to read aloud, and likely to lead to imaginative family word play!

Pair this with Richard Wilbur's Opposites, More Opposites, and a Few Differences.
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Format: Hardcover
I had this book as a I kid and I'm thrilled that it's still around. It's meant as a children's book, but I remember all the adults in our household loved it as well. It uses language in the style of Ogden Nash to give odd names to common things. It lists large-sounding names for elephants and matching names for twins. It has it's own style of counting that goes "ounce, dice, trice, quartz, quince, etc." Any child who lovers word play will love this book.
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Format: Hardcover
My favorite pick for holiday gift-giving, appealing for wordlovers of all ages, is the New York Review of Books Classics reissue of poet Alastair Reed's OUNCE DICE TRICE. NYRB are great curators and always choose wonderful old treasures to reissue, and this is no exception. Plus the books themselves are of such high quality that they will be sure to be loved for many more years to come.

OUNCE DICE TRICE is an exuberant exploration of words - real, imaginary, sense and nonsense - and will be great for young fans of Silverstein and Seuss, as well as the writer, poet, teacher or librarian in your life.
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Format: Hardcover
I got this as a gift when I was 8 in 1958 and I have treasured it ever since. Great fun playing with language, and not just for kids. It opened up the possiblity that our language is not just a given, but can be expanded and altered as needed. And that there are many things in the world not yet noticed and not yet named. Many years later, the novel Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin became an excellent and more advanced source on this theme.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
l first came across this treasure while shelving books as a library page in the public library when I was a teen. Intrigued, I checked it out and was delighted with the creativity of the author. I still remember his list of collective nouns including "a gundulum of garbage cans", a phrase that has stayed with me over the decades. A scribbitch of papers, a snigglement of string, a snuttering of monkeys. Counting from one to ten: archery, butchery, treachery...oh boy, don't get me started.

Now that I have a little grandson, I jumped at the chance to secure a copy of this classic for him when he is old enough to enjoy it. So glad I was reminded of the existence of this book, lo these many years later!

By the way, I think the talented artist/illustrator of this book, Ben Shahn, created a whimsical painting of my favorite composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. I believe it was featured as a cover on Time magazine. I loved that illustration and saved it for many years but have since lost track of it. I wish I could see that painting again. :)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After hearing of this book on NPR I purchased it for my three grandsons and we had a delightful time reading it aloud. Even though die hard children of the internet, they were intrigued by the wordplay. However, it must be read aloud to enjoy it to the fullest.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great to read with kids...they learn while laughing at the different, funny words along with the pictures. Brings excitement to the pages and unleashes their imagination with humor.
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Format: Hardcover
After hearing description of this book on NPR a couple weeks ago, I had a feeling my high school age daughter might like it. On the surface, it might appear this book is for younger kids. But after reading it, I found it to be for all ages. You do not have to be an English major or Communications major or Journalism major to enjoy this book. It is lots of fun and may conjur up some terms that you have only heard a couple of times in your life. My daughter sends a lot of text messages and has fun with the words she chooses, so this book was for her.
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