Tuesday, February 24

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus
Written by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-0802853851
Publisher: Eerdmans Books
Date of publication: September 15, 2014
Age: Grades 2 and up
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

Themes: language, words, lists, accomplishments,

Awards: Caldecott Honor (2015), Sibert Medal (2015),

For shy, young Peter Mark Roget, books were the best companions and he took a lot of comfort in finding just the right word. It wasn't long before Peter began writing his own book—not a story, but lists. Peter took his love for words and turned it to organizing ideas and finding exactly the right word to express just what he thought. His lists grew and grew, eventually turning into one of the most important reference books of all time.

This is a fascinating book, filled with facts and tidbits that make any reader appreciate Roget and his thesaurus so much more. For instance, did you know that Roget invented the first portable, pocket-sized chess set? Seriously, what would we do without him. This book does an amazing job of introducing the reader to a fascinating man.

But besides the well-written story and inclusion of facts (which earned it the Sibert), there are the illustrations (which, of course, earned a Caldecott Honor). Melissa Sweet actually mimicked the lists that Roget would make, as well as included scraps of actual scientific papers, highlighting all sorts of words. The effect is striking and really makes the story that much better. My only complaint is that it can be a bit much; there's so much on the page. But it does invite the reader to really examine what's going on. It really is a superb book. Go and check it out.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

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