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The American Heritage Children's Dictionary (American Heritage Dictionary) Hardcover – August 24, 1998


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Hardcover, August 24, 1998
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 6
  • Series: American Heritage Dictionary
  • Hardcover: 856 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 3rd edition (August 24, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395857392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395857397
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 8.2 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The revised, 21st-century edition of The American Heritage Children's Dictionary, designed for ages 8 and older, doesn't contain the words "plethora," "treacle," "metaphor," or "reciprocal." What use is it, then? you may ask yourself, but that's a question that many kids could answer for you. The letters are large enough to read! Every word is used in a sentence! There are over 800 color photos and illustrations! When you look up the word "erratic" in The American Heritage Dictionary for grownups (Third Edition), it says, "1. Lacking consistency or uniformity; irregular. 2. Unconventional; eccentric." When you look "erratic" up in this children's dictionary, it is defined as, "Not following a steady or usual course; irregular. Our rowboat's course was erratic after we lost our oars." More third-grader-friendly? Certainly.

More than 400 words have been added to this edition--"electronic mail," "online," "seersucker," "vagabond," and "millennium," to name a few. This hefty, appealing hardcover dictionary contains 14,000 main entries and 37,000 boldface forms; it's the only children's dictionary to feature a 10-page phonics guide to help early readers sound out and spell words; and it includes a thesaurus (even if it is very basic, at six pages long). Throughout the book are information blocks such as "Word History" ("hibernate" comes from the Latin word for winter), "Language Detective" (how do you pronounce "creek" where you live?), "Vocabulary Builder" (with word parts such as "-less"); and "Synonyms." If you're looking for word fun for the whole family, younger children ages 4 to 6 may enjoy The American Heritage Picture Dictionary, and older kids ages 11 to 15 might find The American Heritage Student Dictionary helpful. It's never too early to give your children the tools they need to learn! --Karin Snelson

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-8?With 37,000 entries and well-placed color illustrations on almost every double page, this revision of the 1994 edition has a fresh, appealing look. More than 400 new entries have been added, including "geode," "Ramadan," "millennium," "cyberspace," and "World Wide Web." The entry words are not split into syllables so they are easier to read than in many dictionaries. Sample sentences using the word are italicized and homophones are listed. The syllabication, pronunciation, plural, and parts of speech round out each entry. For selected words, there are boxed examples of synonyms used in sentences. "Word History" facts are given for interesting cases and are set off by purple bars. "Vocabulary Builder" boxes are set off in orange and give general rules and examples for use of common prefixes and suffixes. An excellent usage guide and a full-page pronunciation key appear at the beginning of the book. The main entries are followed by a short thesaurus, a section on phonics and spelling, a seven-page geography section, a double-spread world map, and a U.S. map. There are no biographical entries. Colorful, attractive, and easy to use, this dictionary will fill the needs of students. It is similar to the revised Macmillan Dictionary for Children (S & S, 1997), so personal taste should dictate choice, or buy them both.?Priscilla Bennett, State University of West Georgia
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Excellent resource for younger children.
Salesrecruiter
Clear, understandable, informative definitions.
MamaNitaj
It is very colorful and has beautiful pictures.
UneBelleFemme

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 61 people found the following review helpful By J. Morgan on July 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I bought this dictionary for my daughter when she started first grade - knowing that it would be a while until her reading skills were good enough for her to use it. Beginning in about the 2nd grade, she started to use it regularly - and in 3rd grade (last year) she used it all the time. Terrific first dictionary for a kid, with great pictures in full color, good art and illustrations, nice bold type, etc. What's nice about it is that it's layout is just like a grown-up dictionary - which they will switch to in time. This is a perfect dictionary for a grade schooler to learn to do 'research' with appropriate elementary school/junior high vocabularly. Highly recommended!
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Tina M. Steblein on December 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
My review is based on the 2003 version. This version must be vastly improved over earlier reviews, as earlier reviews said it had no pronunciation guide. This version is great! It has blue text for the word. Short, concise definitions and a pronunciation guide at the end.

I feel this is a great "real" 1st dictionary for kids. I picked it for it's readability, suitability/content, and concise definitions. And, as some reviewers said, it may not have "every" word, but I found this version to be the easiest to start with and "entice" them into using the dictionary. I really like the DK/Merrian version, but alas, it's really hard for me and my little guys (1st and 2nd) to decipher through all the blah text, symbols, and more complex definitions. I want them to be excited about reading. My plan is to use this one now until the kids seem to outgrow it, and then I'll upgrade to an "older dictionary". Maybe by then DK/Merriam will have an easier format in a few years. In the interim, I'll use the dictionary.com or merriam-webster online for the missing vocab words. Multiple resources are great.

In closing, I did sit in Barnes and Noble for 20 minutes comparing between the Scholastic, DK/merriam, New World Webster, and American Heritage. I still think for a first children's dictionary that this is a great solution. I would have thought Scholastic would have done a better job. The New World Webster was good with definitions, but the artwork consisted of drawings that were not as "good" and the readability was not quite as good.

Hope this helps all in the market.
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45 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Ruth T. Woods on November 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I am very happy with the content of this dictionary. It will be a gift for my granddaughter who is 8= however I almost returned it because it is so heavy (6+ pounds). Once she finds a place for it, she will enjoy it and get good use from it for the next two or three years.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By B. Foster on February 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I purchased a classroom set - 20 copies - of this dictionary for my second graders. Having spent my own money, you can be sure I checked out the options, and I found this the very best.

The layout of the dictionary is perfect for early learners (kindergarten to third grade). There is a good distribution of informative illustrations that keep young readers interested and supports understanding. I like the boxes inserted throughout which extend knowledge of select words. Synonyms, Word History, Language Detective, & Vocabulary Builder provide inquisitive or gifted children additional links to develop word knowledge.

My job teaching students how to locate words in a dictionary is easier because of the layout. The guide words are easier to identify because they are, like the entry terms on the page, in a light blue type, while all other text is black. Unlike some children's dictionaries, the entry term is shown whole, not syllabized. The syllabized form is given, but last, after more pertinent information.

In a classroom full of literature, this dictionary is a book my students choose to read for entertainment. Perhaps because it is their first reference tool - or because I made them aware of how I acquired them, letting each student carry one up to the classroom - they pour over them. Of course, not every unknown word that a child may encounter will be found in this dictionary. But as an early step toward understanding language and the mechanics of a dictionary, this one is the best I know of to get kids off to a good start.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By glassbreaker on December 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am a homeschooling Mom and we use it every day! Great pictures. Only slight drawback is that not every word we need is listed in it - most are though. Althogether a good investment.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rocco B. Rubino on October 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
There are many things I love about this dictionary. Number one is the way it is put together; easy to read text, plenty of eye-catching pictures and artwork, guidewords conspicuously typeset to make locating entries easier, homographs, inflected forms, and example sentences that show use in context.
Even my SLD students are able to use this book. It has been an excellent source in helping them to learn how to use a dictionary as it is less intimidating that the old black and white texts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cannon on December 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really think this is the best of the reference section when it comes to a dictionary for children. That said, once your child is in 4th grade or so, a more standard version (The American Heritage is a very good one) will do.

While I know most of us now think of reference as an online endeavor, the hard bound version of this dictionary is a real plus for young students. For starters, no need to use computer time to use a dictionary with the risk of being distracted on tangent in search of other things. The book presents words and definitions in a clear and concise manner. Photographs accent the dictionary very nicely. Definitions are presented in a thoughtful and age appropriate way. We've given this as a gift to 7 year olds. We've been told later by their parents it was their child's *surprisingly* favorite gift. Why? Their kids start reading it and looking things up at random.

I think a dictionary is a must for kids in 2nd grade and beyond. They're at a point where spelling is important and they are beginning to really use language creatively. Having a dictionary on the desk can lead to a real exploration of learning for your child. Instead of asking you how to spell this or that, they can look it up, and the synonyms included are quite useful in the creative writing process.

No dictionary is comprehensive..... especially one for children. You will find certain words - even those that appeared on last week's spelling test - missing from the dictionary. I hardly think that is the point. Teaching a bit of self reliance - that a child can discover an answer on their own and learn a bit more about a word or phrase on their own - has substantial merit, in my view.
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