Terrific

by Jon Agee

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Published by Michael di Capua Books, 2005

Eugene is a grumpy, lonely man who always looked on the negative side of life, and he was usually not disappointed.  He went on a cruise, and the boat sank, leaving him behind on a deserted island with nothing on it but an irritating parrot who coached him on how to make a boat, a sail, and escape the island.  The parrot was recaptured by his original owners on their rescue ship and Eugene was alone again.  When he disembarks, he realizes how attached he has become to the bird, and is thrilled to find that the bird had escaped the boat in order to be with Eugene instead.  For the first time, Eugene was happy.

This book is a terrific book for teaching verbal irony.  Eugene always says “terrific” when he means the opposite…until the end of the book.  Because of the irony, it may actually be more difficult for very young readers to grasp, but it is still a sweet book about friendship regardless of their grasp of subtlety.

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