Reviews for The right word : Roget and his thesaurus

by by Jen Bryant ; illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Apt language and ingenious imagery combine to tell the life story of Peter Mark Roget, creator of the thesaurus. Bryant's linear telling follows Peter closely, expressing his curiosity, sensitivity, and populist spirit in language both decorous and warm. Clever book design and visionary illustration add layers of meaning. Sweet embellishes her own gentle watercolors with all manner of clippings and realia. Reading list, timeline. Bib. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

After award-winning collaborations about poet William Carlos Williams and artist Horace Pippin, Bryant and Sweet return to investigate the life of Peter Mark Roget. Born in London in 1779, Roget was plagued by lifelong setbacks. His father died early; his mother was unstable. Frequent moves and pronounced shyness engendered solace in books. Partial to classifying his knowledge and experiences, Peter composed his first book of lists by age 8. Inspired by the taxonomy of Swedish physician and botanist Linnaeus, teenage Peter studied medicine in Scotland, eventually establishing a practice in London, and he worked on a book of word classifications, completing it in 1805 for his own reference. Roget lectured, invented (the slide rule and the pocket chess set) and, inspired by the publication of several contemporary, inferior books of lists, returned to his own. His Thesaurus, published in 1852 and nurtured by his descendants, has never gone out of print. Bryant's prose is bright and well-tuned for young readers. She goes gently, omitting Roget's darkest traumas, such as witnessing his uncle's suicide. Sweet tops herselfagain!visually reflecting Roget's wide range as a thinker and product of the Enlightenment. Injecting her watercolor palette with shots of teal, scarlet and fuchsia, Sweet embeds vintage bits (ledger paper, type drawers, botanical illustrations and more), creating a teeming, contemplative, playfully celebratory opus. In a word: marvelous! (chronology, author's and illustrator's notes, selected bibliography, suggested reading, quotation sources, photograph of manuscript page) (Picture book/biography. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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