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The Word Project: Odd & Obscure Words- Illustrated [Paperback]

by Polly M. Law, Richard Lederer
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 6, 2010 145363634X 978-1453636343 Ill
A compendium of over 100 odd & obscure words illustrated in P. M. Law's distinctive bricolage "paper-dolls" style. Employing visual puns, verbal puns, mythological references and a quirky, smart, sense of humor, Ms. Law explores and illuminates the fringes and snickleways of the English language. Is it a dictionary, an art book, a language book or a reference book? Yes. "Polly M. Law has set such a stunning standard for mixing beauty and language that other dictionaries are now doorstops. What I wouldn't give to see illustrations like these in an unabridged edition!" - Grant Barrett, author & host of NPR's "A Way With Words" "Polly M. Law has taken a gallimaufry of unusual words and brought them cleverly, amusingly, charmingly to life with her pulchritudinous artwork. A simple idea beautifully realized." -Patrick Merrell, artist/author of "Bird Brainteasers"

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Polly M. Law is a bricoleur, mythologeinist, artist and designer with abiding interests in language, NE-native plant gardening, tea and double-acrostics. Ms. Law is a koumpounomaniac and lives- and is always on the lookout for great buttons- in the Mid-Hudson valley of New York.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 68 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; Ill edition (December 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145363634X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453636343
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,164,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Polly M. Law

Following the precepts of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle- that one can know the velocity/direction or the location of a particle, but not both at the same time; and that observation changes the experiment- here's what I can tell you about myself:
I was born and raised in a small village in the midwest. I currently live in the mid-Hudson valley of New York. I worked for over 20 years doing art for advertising, mostly in New York City. So, a few changes in axis after extended periods at one set of coordinates; overall trend- to the North-Northeast.

My current work is about animation- or the possibility of it, color, texture, and how creativity can flourish within constraints. Animation in the sense of bringing alive inanimate materials or objects, not particularly the art form of cel or computer animation- at least not right now; but how figures articulate. Playing with color and texture for the total joy of giving those rods and cones a real workout. I enjoy the challenge of working within a certain level of constraint, limitations in the form of a restricted palette of materials, size limitations, thematic unity; it forces me to be more creative and makes the process a game-and an enjoyable one at that. I see my work as little theaters, each with its own proscenium, each bristling with potential.

I have been and continue to be influenced by nature, especially leaf forms; the Bloomsbury artists; the Greenman; Eyvind Earle, Charlie Harper, and Edward Bawdin. I learned about color and the play of color in close order, from my college study with the fiber artist Janet Taylor.

I have a cat, some books, some friends, a few teapots, many, many buttons and a lot of ideas banging around in my brain pan. I like working jigsaws, acrostics and crosswords but am not as good at Scrabble as you might suppose. I also knit and do needlepoint.

That is where I am right now- velocity/direction? Stay tuned.

To see more of my bricolage work please visit my site:
My art on FaceBook:
Keep up with The Word Project on FaceBook:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stump The Word Lover; Delight The Art Lover December 20, 2010
When I read about Polly Law's plan to create a combo platter of bricolage and vocabulary development, I was intrigued. Now I'm a fan. This is the perfect gift for a logophile (or anyone seeking defensive measures to contend with one): enlightening, original, whimsical, thought-provoking, and delightful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book January 19, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this artist on and instantly fell in love with her work. She is a master at her craft. When I found out that a book of her works was in progress, I eagerly awaited its arrival and ordered four copies of it to share with my friends as soon as it became available. I love Polly's artistic interpretations of odd and obscure words. It is a pure delight to journey with Polly as she explores some of the quirky verbiage found in the English language using an artistic medium. I highly recommend this one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book! April 10, 2011
What a fun book!!! Polly is very talented and creative and there is so much attention to visual detail in this book, that her characters (the paper dolls) bring all the words alive. What an imagination!!! A great gift for yourself and friends/family, and as another reviewer pointed out --- a perfect coffee table book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The secret life of the English language April 1, 2011
However well you imagine you know English, think again.
In a world full of throttlebottoms, fograms and wowsers, all of whom, frankly, give me the wambles, finding Polly Law's THE WORD PROJECT is cause for saltant elation. If you crave philological arousal, or know anyone who does, what you'll discover here is an irresistibly imaginative blend of visual and linguistic oddities. (The art by itself bears repeated viewings, which makes it even more fun to return to its pages repeatedly to try to increase your vocabulary.)
if you cherish such one-off classics as Exaltation of Larks or Mots d'Heures: Gousses, Rames, here's another treasure for that singular shelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just words March 29, 2011
If you, or anyone you love, loves words you must have this book. Polly has mined the depths of the English language to come up with the most obscure, informative and entertaining words. Her accompanying artwork, full of whimsy and delight, bring each word to life. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once I was gormless. February 3, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Yes! THE WORD PROJECT is finally for sale. Oh, eudemonia! It is such a treat to escape from the corybantic world with a weird word, a daffy definition, and a brilliant bricolage.

THE WORD PROJECT is for the gourmet who will devour this book slowly, enjoying each old word, bite by bite.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kick Starter Find February 2, 2011
I was wowed by the art dolls when I saw this project on Kick Starter. So much so I invested. I am not sorry as I now have a beautiful little book full of these great creatures and their accompanying words. It appeals to my love of odd words as well as the paper artist in me. The poses and costumes of these beings are fantastic.

Thank you for putting this out there and allowing us to participate in it's fruition.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTING!!!
While I admire Mrs. Laws artwork very much and even bought one of her pieces, I must say:
This booklet is a TOTAL WASTE of money! It is very badly and cheaply made. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Dorothea Rosa
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book!
Polly Law's "Word Project" is brilliant. Her illustrations are masterful-filled with humor and poignant beauty. Read more
Published on December 19, 2011 by Helen Koehler
5.0 out of 5 stars Treat for the eyes
Besides the words being funny and fascinating, the gorgeous colors are a treat for the eyes! And the way the "people" are shown makes you want to pick them off the page.
Published on February 5, 2011 by Katie J.
5.0 out of 5 stars Words and pictures to devour
The English language is fabulously inventive, and Polly Law has dug up some wonderfully odd and obscure words to share with us. Read more
Published on February 1, 2011 by Harriet Livathinos
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Gift for Word Geeks
I have a copy editor who is A.D.D. when it comes to grammar. My sixth grade level literacy has him constantly looking for a razor, either to cut up my articles or his wrist. Read more
Published on February 1, 2011 by Mark E. Monlux
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect for the coffee table
Love the whimsical art, and the new words in my vocabulary.
Read the word, spell the word, use it in a sentence, say the word again, spell the word, and it's yours. Read more
Published on January 31, 2011 by Gerald Berke
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