Ella Minnow Pea – A novel in letters

A B C D E F G H I J K  

Ella Minnow Pea  

Did you sing The Alphabet song this way? Author Mark Dunn wrote a book in 2001 with this clever name for his lead character, Ella Minnow Pea.  Ella is the daughter of Amos and Gwennette, cousin to Tassie, and niece to Mittie.  They live on the island of Nollop which lies off the coast of South Carolina.  

Nollop was named for its most famous citizen who found a way to use all 26 letters of the alphabet in a sentence.  When Nollop died his tomb was erected in town with tile letters displaying his famous sentence: 

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

When tiles begin to fall off the tomb,  the town fathers choose against repair and decide it is a message from Nollop.  They ban the use of the falling letter tiles. At first the people say they can live without Z and Q.   As more letters become involved the island people begin to see their lives uprooted.  A quick solution is found to affix the tiles.  The town fathers refuse renovation and declare a series of punishments for the citizens who use the banned letters in speech or writing. The tomb of Nollop and his phrase become sacred to the town fathers.  They feel he is governing them from the grave and they begin to glorify him.  The people disagree, not openly, but work to restore their island home.

Ella Minnow Pea was a quick read that brought laughter and reflection.  I would highly recommend for a book club because of the subject depth that could be covered from this very imaginative tale.


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1 Comment

  1. Becky says:

    Sounds like an allegory of how all people are necessary and important


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