This book by Mr. Jensen is full of games, activities and a few worksheets to spice up a language arts program. It is a resource book, rather than a textbook, but it can be used many times in the years from junior high through high school. Its low price makes it an excellent value. The author's slant shows the influence of the traditional classroom (he suggests "filling up the time" at the end of the period with some of the activities), but most activities can very easily be used in the home. Some are small group activities and some are for individuals. Jensen shows how to apply various games to other subject areas, such as to help reinforce science vocabulary.
Many of the sections are quite imaginative, and there is great variety in the types of games. One group of puzzles are lists of proverbs, both scriptural and folk wisdom, rewritten in exaggerated language. The trick is to put them back into everyday speech. For example, "the promptest feathered biped seizes the annelid," becomes the very familiar "the early bird catches the worm." One of these a day could be used to spark interest at the beginning of class.
Other types of puzzles range from logic problems to cryptograms of quotes from Shakespeare (including instructions to make your own cryptograms). The directions for the games are easy to follow. The least interesting sections are those that are the most traditional (the worksheets), but even some of these are quite imaginative. Our family tried out several of the games, outside of our school time, and had fun with all of them. [reviewed by Kath Courtney]