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About the book
  • Published: 20 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9780143304487
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $17.99

The Word Spy


Formats & editions


Join the WORD SPY on an entertaining journey through the English language.  Learn more about the alphabet came from, find out what ATM stands for, make up your own palindromes (it's easy!) and impress your friends by speakling Pig Latin. 

Winner – NSW Premier's Literary Award
CBCA honour Book and Junior Judges' Project Winner

Dear Readers,

You may not know me, but I know you.  I am - the WORD SPY.

Ever since I can remember, I've been listening to, speaking, reading and writing and, yes, spying on words.  The time has come for me to share with you some of the many things I have discovered.  All you have to do is open this book . . . the wonderful world of words awaits!

Join the WORD SPY on an entertaining journey through the English language.  Learn more about the alphabet came from, find out what ATM stands for, make up your own palindromes (it's easy!) and impress your friends by speakling Pig Latin.  There are cartoons, riddles and a special code to solve along the way.

'Giddy . . . exuberant . . . playful . . . thoroughly engaging.'
KIRKUS REVIEWS, USA?

'A magic carpet ride through 4000 years of language.'
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

'A marvellous exploration of the nuances and richness of English . . . a valuable addition to any child's library.'
THE AGE

'I-ay oved-lay e-thay ord-way py-say.  That's Pig Latin for I loved The Word Spy!  It was the best book I have ever read . . . I rate this book 10 out of 10.'
ROWINA NATHAN, AGE 10

  • Pub date: 20 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9780143304487
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $17.99

About the Authors

Ursula Dubosarsky

Ursula Dubosarsky is widely regarded as one of the most talented and original writers in Australia today. She is the author of over 40 books for children and young adults, which have won a number of national prizes, including the NSW, Victorian, South Australian and Queensland Premier's Literary Awards.

Alongside her fiction for older children, Ursula has a wonderful talent for picture books such as the highly popular The Terrible Plop and Too Many Elephants in This House, which have both been adapted as successful stage productions. She has also written the non-fiction Word Spy books about the English language, both of which also won major national awards.

Ursula has a PhD in English literature from Macquarie University and lives in Sydney with her family.

Tohby Riddle

'Tohby knits well but is also a chatterbox, so his socks are not finished. I hope he finishes them in the holidays.'

Many years have passed since this mixed primary school report on Tohby Riddle. And although his socks remain unfinished, he has been able to complete other undertakings, including a degree in art and a degree in architecture - neither of which involved any knitting.

Tohby Riddle is the award-winning creator of picture books such as The Singing Hat, The Great Escape from City Zoo and Irving the Magician (all three were shortlisted for CBC Picture Book of the Year and more), and the cult favourite, The Royal Guest. In 2008, Tohby illustrated The Word Spy by Ursula Duborsarsky, which won the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature in the 2009 NSW Premier's Literary Awards and was an honour book in the 2009 CBC Book of the Year awards. A much-anticipated second book, The Return of the Word Spy, was published in May 2010.

His picture book, Nobody Owns the Moon won the Best Designed Picture Book in the 2009 APA Book Design Awards, and was shortlisted for both the 2009 CBC Picture Book of the Year and the Patricia Wrightson Prize in the 2009 NSW Premier's Literary Awards.

Tohby also has two cartoon collections What's the Big Idea? and Pink Freud. The cartoons in these books first appeared before a wide audience in Good Weekend - the weekend magazine of the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne's The Age, where he was cartoonist for nearly ten years. Some of the cartoons have been hung in the National Museum of Australia.

In May 2009, Tohby published his first novel for the young adult/adult market called The Lucky Ones. His latest picture book, My Uncle's Donkey, was published in August 2010. Tohby Riddle lives with his family in the Blue Mountains, outside Sydney, Australia.


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