Man's First Word

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Man's First Word is a children's book illustrated by Carl Chaiet and written by Lynn Kearcher which was published in 2007. The reader follows Telford, a renowned lexicographer, and Earnest, his talking bird-butler, as they travel through the Atlas Mountains of Morocco in search of the origin of language.

Plot summary[edit]

The story begins with Telford receiving a phone call from Billiam Pinch-Penny, an anthropologist at the local museum, regarding the discovery of a tablet of stone with Hieroglyphic carvings. It is unique in the fact that the people depicted have open mouths and appear to be attempting to speak. The tablet is a slab of Iguanastone, found only in the Atlas Mountains. Earnest notes that a piece has broken off, and Telford, Earnest and Billiam pack their bags for Morocco.

After a trip which leads them through London, France, and Spain, the trio eventually find themselves in Tangiers, where a local basketweaver suggests that they look for the broken piece in a small village in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains called Yackama. There, Earnest literally trips over what they are looking for, and they arrive at an answer to their question.


  • The name of the authors' son, Max, can be found hidden in every illustration in the book.
  • Many of the descriptions and illustrations of the exotic locales are derived from the writer's experience hitchhiking from London to Tangiers.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]