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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pajamas by Judy Parkinson

Hi there, insatiable readers!
How are YOU today?

Hopefully all your holiday arrangements are in order and you are just sitting back, enjoying the season....unlike me who is still bustling about trying to get lose ends tied up.  That's part of the fun of the season though, right?'s post is a break from the stories and escapes of the fictional world (which of course I adore) but loads of nerdishly fun all the same (which I also enjoy to break things up a bit).  It's a book for the curious at heart and all of those who can't simply help but wonder at even the smallest curiosities.  So, um...are you curious?  (hehe)  No need to keep you in suspense any longer.  Today's book of choice is....

Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pajamas
Judy Parkinson

A nifty little book chock full of those phrases that you hear everyday and yet still don't quite know the full meaning behind them.  Have you ever had that happen?  You hear a phrase over and over, you may even perhaps use it yourself and yet you only sort of know what it means.  Yep, been there, done that....thankfully usually I was right, but this collection of wordish pearl goodness can help solve quite a few of those mind boggling little devils.  Let's look a prime example, shall we?

The book title itself is made up of two rather popular expressions...but do you really know what they mean or where they came from?  According to the text....

Spilling the beans (or rather "spill" the beans) means "to let on"...and is thought to perhaps have been derived from the ancient Greek practice of voting where black and white beans were used to show for whom or what you were voting in favor of. (pg 143-144)

The cat's pajamas first came into use in the 1920's (explaining the reason why it may be more familiar to YA readers right now with this era being rather popular at the moment) and is said to describe something of supreme quality or highest caliber.  (pg 41-42)

So basically the book's title in in explanation would be "to let on" about some high caliber information....and however fitting that might be, the expressions say it much more eloquently, don't you think?  Though there are so many I could highlight from this book, there is one more that I will lend you a new insight into....what the Dickens.  You've more than likely heard it exclaimed in surprise or even said it yourself (*raises hand*), but guess what?  It's origins have nothing to do with the infamous author of the same name!  That's's actually a bit more devious than that, back to the 16th century or so as a reference for the Devil... O_O ... who'd have thought?

Easily used as a reference book should you have an encounter with an unknown phrase, yet also perfect for random fact lovers the world over.  The meaning behind some of these commonly used expressions is certainly obscure but where they originated from is all the more curious....

Review copy received courtesy of Julie at FSB Associates.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their current projects, visit them online or follow along on Twitter (multiple options here...1...2...3...4).  So you've been 'saved by the bell' 'at the eleventh hour' but just so you don't end up as 'mad as a hatter' over my over 'no holds barred' use of phrases, might I suggest this unique little book for a phrase slinging friend in your life, or perhaps....even YOU. 

Until next time...happy holidays...and happy reading!

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