The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus is a stunning work of art and even better yet, it is a true logophiles dream. Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet have given new life to Peter Roget who wonderfully crafted thesaurus. Growing up I remember have a dictionary and a red Roget’s Thesaurus in my desk at all times. This same thesaurus traveled with me to college and then to my own classroom where the spine was broken and a rubber band held it together. In all those times that I used this book, I never knew the story of its maker Peter Roget.
With this incredible book, I now get to share my love of words with my petites. The book is beautifully illustrated, much as you would assume Roget’s lists and how he would have outlined them in a notebook. I love the illustrations, there is a depth to them that both my girls noticed right away as they ran their little hands over the pages trying to see if in fact pieces were glued to the pages, as you would do with a scrapbook.
This is a beautiful story about Peter Roget, who moves a lot as a child and is rather shy. Peter finds comfort in books and knows that books will never leave him. That words have power and that everyone should have access to these words.
In 1852, Roget published his Thesaurus, a words that means “treasure house” in Greek. People snatched it from the shelves like a new kind of candy. The first thousand copies sold out quickly. Peter was suddenly a popular author. But this did not change him at all. Instead, he went right back to his desk and made new lists…so that today, whenever you need it, you can still find the right word.
Here is a link to the book trailer, which is as stunning as this lovely book. You will clearly see why this book is a 2015 Caldecott Honor Book, 2015 Sibert Medal Winner and a 2015 Orbis Pictus Honor Book.
For the classroom: This book would be perfect to use as part of a writers workshop. It is always fun to challenge kids to try out using new words especially when it comes to their writing and not just for different ways to say said. This book would be perfect to introduce the concept of bolstering vocabulary in writing. This book would be perfect for kids in kindergarten through third grade.
Added bonus: both my girls are very interested in how books smell, and often times even my 20 month old will smell books (to my absolute delight) after choosing this book for story time the other night my oldest declared that “this book has the best smell ever”.