Vocabulary experts Ruth Gairns and Stuart Redman ("A Way with Words" & "Working with Words") continue their long collaboration with this innovative first entry into a 3-level self-study vocabulary series. Perhaps inspired by their recent work on the "Natural English" course they differentiate this latest series from the pack by giving it a functional framework which allows the words to be contextualised in full sentences in reasonably authentic encounters.
This middle entry aimed at CEF B1-2 contains such bizarrely entitled units as "I can talk about weddings and funerals" and "I can describe the universe" and while the sentence level structure continues to impress the subject matter makes it less valuable than its predecessor as a supplement to traditional coursebooks, nonetheless I keep a copy around for some off the wall extra lessons and time fillers as well as the occasional set self-study homework. The book also comes with a CD-ROM containing some point a click nonsense which still isn't really up to much and the exquisite cover and check card which I've yet to see anyone make any use of whatsoever.
The series, which covers 2,000 words over 80 units at each of the 3 levels, was quite rightly highly commended at the English-Speaking Union's Duke of Edinburgh English Language Book Award in 2009 as "an invaluable resource for teachers and a goldmine for learners" and if the number of times I have gone to my locker to find them missing are anything to go by then I am not the only one to thoroughly agree with this assessment. I can continue recommend this book except at funerals.