The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus, by Jennifer Bryant, illustrations by Melissa Sweet published in 2014 by Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers
Is it a rumpus, a racket, or a riot?
Is he diplomatic, cunning, or cagey?
Did she create, concoct, or fudge together her story?
Thanks to Peter Mark Roget, we have thousands of perfectly-appointed words, brilliantly organized in clever lists, at our fingertips.
Peter Mark Roget
This shy, intelligent fellow has made it easier to say precisely what we mean, since 1852.
Now you can read a trim account of Roget’s life, his early fascination with list-making, and his success in publishing his first thesaurus. (It sold like hotcakes!) Jennifer Bryant’s picture book biography dips a toe into Roget’s childhood, then lingers over his keen interest in collecting and organizing words which kept him on course through his varied life. She pleasantly leads us through the high-points, engaging readers ages 4 and up.
Bryant has teamed up before with Melissa Sweet, and oh my! it’s a winning combination! Sweet’s dedication to her craft as a collage artist shows up again in this striking, alluring, beautiful book. Fizzing with warm, dramatic color, with layouts that tango and typography that captivates, her illustrations compel us to slow-poke our way through the pages. Marvelous!
In keeping with Roget’s propensities, there’s a timeline of historic events coinciding with his life, as well as interesting notes from author and illustrator and suggestions for further reading.
I have been a word-lover since elementary school. Roget’s thesaurus, with its fascinating categories of words delighted me even then. Sure, a pig could be fat. But he could also be stout, plump, podgy, portly, or roly-poly. My thick, orange copy of Roget has traveled the world with me, and I am delighted to know a bit more about the man behind it.
P.S. Some of you are getting this post for the second time! Sorry about that. It is completely my fault for pushing the GO button at the wrong moment! Anyway, this book is worth hearing about more than once, right?