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The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus Hardcover – September 15, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—Those who have relied upon a thesaurus (meaning treasure house in Greek), either in print or through the tool menu of word processing software, will gain a greater appreciation for the reference tool in this beautifully designed picture book biography of its creator, Peter Roget. Bryant describes bibliophile Roget, taking him from a timid, studious child who was always compiling lists to an accomplished doctor who by 1805 had compiled the beginnings of the first thesaurus. Busy and exuberant, Sweet's charming watercolor illustrations, layered over collages of vintage images and fonts, capture Roget's passion for classification while also providing readers new opportunities for discovery (Latin translations of animal names, mathematical terms, and a plethora of synonyms). Expertly researched and well written, Bryant's narrative not only details the creation of the thesaurus; it also conveys a sense of Roget the man: his shy nature, his keen intelligence, and his passion for knowledge. There truly was a particular blend of artistry and intellect that went into Roget's book, as evidenced from a reproduced page from the original thesaurus. The book contains extensive back matter, including an incredibly detailed time line that goes into the man's other inventions (the slide rule, the pocket chess set) and an author and illustrator's note, as well as Roget quotations that are sure to inspire if not a love of language then at least a search for the perfect turn of phrase. An excellent illustrated biography.—Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library
"Sweet envisions Roget's work as a shadow box crammed with the wonders of the natural world, adorned with exuberant hand-lettered typography. Together with Bryant's sympathetic account, Sweet's gentle riot of images and words humanizes the man behind this ubiquitous reference work and demystifies the thesaurus itself."
-- Kirkus Reviews (STARRED Review)
Bryant's prose is bright and well-tuned for young readers. . . . Sweet tops herself -- again! -- visually reflecting Roget's wide range as a thinker and product of the Enlightenment. Injecting her watercolor palette with shots of teal, scarlet and fuchsia, Sweet embeds vintage bits (ledger paper, type drawers, botanical illustrations and more), creating a teeming, contemplative, playfully celebratory opus. In a word: marvelous!"
-- Booklist (STARRED review)
"In brilliant pages teeming with enthusiasm for language and learning, Bryant and Sweet joyfully celebrate curiosity, the love of knowledge, and the power of words."
-- School Library Journal (STARRED review)
“Those who have relied upon a thesaurus . . . will gain a greater appreciation for the reference tool in this beautifully designed picture book biography of its creator, Peter Roget. . . . Busy and exuberant, Sweet’s charming watercolor illustrations, layered over collages of vintage images and fonts, capture Roget’s passion for classification while also providing readers new opportunities for discovery. . . . Expertly researched and well written, Bryant’s narrative not only details the creation of the thesaurus; it also conveys a sense of Roget the man. . . . An excellent illustrated biography.”
The Horn Book (STARRED review)
"Apt language and ingenious imagery. . . . both decorous and warm."
-- Capitol Choices
"From its busy end pages this lively book brings to life a creator and the words he was fascinated by."
New York Times
"Spirited portrait of the Swiss-born Victorian who found an ingenious way to help people say what they mean."
"Young readers will see that each page of this book, like each page of 'Roget’s Thesaurus,' contains multitudes."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Encourages a sense of wonder. . . . Myriad visual temptations luring viewers into a fine browsing experience."
Midwest Book Review
“The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus is a fabulous illustrated junior biography, celebrating the richness and power of words, and the wonderful story of the man who organized and listed words to make them accessible to all who are literate.”
Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews
“In this remarkable book Jen Bryant’s lyrical text is paired with Melissa Sweet’s wonderful multimedia artwork to give young readers a compelling story about a man whose book of words, and their meanings, is now a valuable tool used by writers of all kinds.”
Top customer reviews
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Jen's writing style is fabulous and her words flow off the tongue when reading this aloud. My favorite sentence just from the standpoint of an amazing impact on the reader- "Baby Annette slept in Mother's arms, a small pink blossom against a wall of black." I can visualize the scene perfectly from that one sentence. You can feel it even. You just know that Peter's mother must be in mourning because his father died. On the next page you find that is exactly the case. The entire book is amazing like that. I read one beautiful passage and then my daughter wanted to read it as well. It really is fun to say the beautiful words out loud!
In addition to Bryant's inspired prose, Sweet's art is also fabulous. I am not sure how to describe it, maybe scrapbook style? There really are a lot of interesting things going on in the pictures that's for sure. So, we loved both reading and looking at this wonderful book. We highly recommend it!
His only comment at the end was that they really knew how to make it interesting to kids.
They did. They do -- and rarely if ever have I seen a picture book biography in which the words and the art become one whole in this way, even when the same person did them both. I wish *I* could think of one right word for this book -- beautiful, moving, funny, well-written, how did they do it? And get so much into 40 pages? If I had to pick just one word, though: ILLUMINATING.
After I read the book (and I am still reading it, over and over and over) I bought Roget's Thesaurys, the 1933 one with the word still arrange his way.
Thank you Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet!
He can enjoy the background story book now and use the reference book for years and years to come. I used to love using my Thesaurus when writing a composition or story. I know just the right word can usually be found on line these days, but there is still something wonderful about referring to a big hard covered book---and it looks great sitting on the book shelf.