Way back in primary school, I had a teacher who wasn’t prepared to accept just anything from his students, and who remains today an inspiration for many things I do (thanks, DS). One thing in particular he ‘taught’ was a love of words, and I can remember him encouraging us (as 8-9 year olds) to use variety in our writing.
In year 3, many lists were compiled to replace words like ‘nice’, ‘good’ and ‘walk’ so that in our “compositions” the characters ‘perambulated’ or ‘strolled’ along in their ‘fine’ outfits to have ‘exciting’ adventures along the way. Indeed, my compositions were full of flowery adjectives, as I played with many alternative possibilities to ‘good’ and ‘bad’. [And even now, I pause to use the word ‘nice’.]
The Right Word : Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet illustrates/explains/describes the source of our contemporary thesaurus, Roget’s Thesaurus in a wonderful/pictorial/playful representation. Bryant tells of Roget’s sombre childhood, the intricacies of his own introverted character, and his love of words and lists.
His achievements as a doctor (at an incredibly young age), as the inventor of the slide rule, a lecturer and an author are now part of history, but it is his legacy of lists, which made Roget a household word.
The Right Word is a highly visual text which will delight wordsmiths and artists alike – as texts, lists and imagery combine to tell, explore and articulate the evolution of Roget’s Thesaurus. Notes at the end of the book also give context and meaning to the book, with a list of historical events from Roget’s life. As well, notes from the author and illustrator, and a copy of a page from Roget’s original word book are included. With fascinating end papers, The Right Word is a delightful, enchanting and remarkably creative work that everyone deserves to dive into and enjoy.