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An Apple a Day: Old-Fashioned Proverbs - Timeless Words to Live By    by Caroline Taggart order for
Apple a Day
by Caroline Taggart
Order:  USA  Can
Readers Digest, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Caroline Taggart, author of I Used to Know That and My Grammar and I ... Or Should That Be Me?, now brings us An Apple a Day: Old-Fashioned Proverbs - Timeless Words to Live By. I like the initial quote from Lord John Russell: 'A proverb is one man's wit and all men's wisdom.'

In her Introduction, Taggart explains what makes a saying a proverb and reminds us that most proverbs still have relevance today. She then shares her collection from Absence makes the heart grow fonder to Zeal without knowledge is the sister of folly. She explains the origins of each proverb and gives additional background information, and variations through the ages. Amusing black and white illustrations are scattered through the book.

Though few proverbs are to be taken literally, An apple a day keeps the doctor away has passed the test of time and 'can be taken at face value'. I rather like the German variation on The devil finds work for idle hands, that is 'The devil dances in an empty pocket.' And I've always wondered about the origins of You've got to eat a peck of dirt before you die.

Though most of these proverbs will be familiar to all readers (that's why they are proverbs after all), there were a few new to me, including Good wine needs no bush. And my favorite Irish proverb (A little of what you fancy does you good) was not included. But overall, it's a fascinating compilation.

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