The Illustrated Book of Sayings

The Illustrated Book of Sayings is your introduction for some of the world’s strangest and most wonderful expressions. I say ‘introduction’ because this book would need to be thousands upon thousands of pages long (and several volumes after that) to include all the curious, magical, and transcendent sayings we use to express ourselves. It is a beginning for you and me.”

– Ella Frances Saunders 


As an English teacher, I am well acquainted with idioms here at home in the U.S. However, whenever I travel or speak with family and friends who grew up (or even spent time) abroad, I am completely intrigued by little phrases that are common to other languages. Ella Frances Saunders has created a gem with this book. It is packed with hilarious phrases that I have never heard of and endearing colloquialisms that are absolutely precious. For example, the French phrase To pedal in the sauerkraut  is a much quainter way to say that the wheels are turning, but you are going nowhere. The Dutch phrase her magpie stands high refers to a girl who has long legs. Another personal favorite is he’s ripping clouds with his nose which refers to an arrogant man who holds his head up high when properly translated in Serbian.

This book not only has funny phrases, but also has quaint illustrations that are stylish and diverse. This book is a win for anyone who is interested in linguistics and culture or enjoys a classic coffee table book with a bit of a modern twist.

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