The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus

the right word, roget

Title: The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus
Author: Jen Bryant
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Year of Publication: 2014
Genre: Biography
Literary Awards: Caldecott Honor (2015), Sibert Medal (2015), Kirkus Prize Nominee for Young Readers’ Literature (2014)

It is difficult to find a word for the illustrations: beautiful (handsome, gorgeous, pretty, lovely, graceful, elegant, attractive). It is equally challenging to describe the text: great (august, grand, dignified, sublime, majestic). Peter Mark Roget was a quiet child, often lonely, who spent a great deal of time creating lists of words. He wanted to be able to find just the right word for any given situation. This lovely biography tells the story of how he compiled these lists for years, and eventually published them as Roget’s Thesaurus. This “treasure house” of a book has been in print continuously since 1852!

Peter Mark Roget by Thomas Pettigrew, 1843 print of portrait, Medical Portrait Gallery

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus is the perfect book choice for lovers of words and art. Melissa Sweet’s collage-style illustrations are infused with words and gorgeous details that enhance Jen Bryant’s engaging text. There is much to be enjoyed on each page of this delightful book, so if you plan to share it with a large group I’d recommend projecting it. Don’t miss the author’s and illustrator’s notes at the end of the book!

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