Review: The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus
Ok, here’s a scenario I’m wondering if anyone can relate to besides me. Let’s say you’re getting ready to go out for the evening, maybe you’ve gotten dressed-up for the occasion, but just before you head out something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s your hair, a scarf; something is causing you some discomfort. Then your partner, in an attempt to get you out the door tells you, “You look fine.”
Fine? Is “fine” supposed to make me feel good? It doesn’t quite do it for me.
In The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant, a young Peter Roget found himself responding “fine” to his mother’s many inquiries about his health and well being. “Although, to be honest, Peter thought, fine wasn’t quite the right word.” It’s at this point of the story that I love this quirky little boy and his love of words! Peter was a shy, but very bright loner who was constantly organizing and writing lists of words.
Melissa Sweet’s illustrations skillfully convey this pursuit of order and classification using a combination of collage and watercolor. In addition to incorporating a variety of typefaces, the text is often laid out to look like a list.
Eventually Roget became a well respected physician and was asked to give lectures for scientific societies in London. He was able to overcome his shyness with his trusty book of lists in hand. Roget realized the strength and confidence he felt in having a good vocabulary. He wanted everyone to have access to his lists; not just the well educated but the working class as well. In 1852, Roget published his Thesaurus and it was a huge success making him famous.
As was his Thesaurus, this fun and informative biography of Peter Roget is sure to be a bestseller.
9780802853851. 2014. Gr. 3-6.