I Laid an Egg on Aunt Ruth's Head: Conquering English and Its Ruthless Ways might be the perfect grammar supplement for teens who already have the basics but could use a little polish. Most adults should also find it useful. Author Joel Schnoor entertains while he instructs through humorous stories of his Great Aunt Ruth. In the stories, Joel the “nauseating nephew” has frequent run-ins with Aunt Ruth over her grammatical faux pas. His efforts to set things straight are silly but effective. Schnoor picks on common usage errors as well as a few punctuation challenges. Among his targets are lie/lay, its/it's, will/shall, hopefully, irregardless, i.e./e.g., that/which, farther/further, and many other usage dilemmas. Punctuation topics include comma, apostrophe, and parentheses usage as well as capitalization.
As I read through the book, I realized that I wasn't really clear on some grammatical distinctions myself. For example, I learned that “further” can safely be used when in doubt whether to use “farther” or “further,” but farther has more limited usage.
The book can be used for quick reference by jumping to the back where the information is presented concisely, but it is certainly more fun to learn it through the stories.
Schnoor continues the adventures of Aunt Ruth in Aunt Ruth: The Queen of English and Her Reign of Error. It is written in the same manner as the first book, but addresses additional grammar and usage errors.
Students who need some practice on the various topics covered in the book will benefit from Aunt Ruth Grammar Drills for Excellence. Available as either a set of printed worksheets or a CD-ROM with PDF files, it consists of 70 pages of practice and review plus answer keys. The humor even carries over into the sample sentences and exercises, and there are even more silly stories in which students have to identify errors. While the worksheets aren't essential, they do provide an easy means of accountability.