The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus


Book Information

Reader Personality Type
Eerdman's Books for Young Readers September 2014
Language Arts Curriculum

“Words  are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup”-- Lennon  and McCartney

“If only  all the ideas in the world could be found in one place, theneveryone would have  one book where they could find the best word, the one thatreally  fit.”

In so  many ways my two years in middle school sucked.  In other words,they were dreadful,  painful, deplorable, frightful, crappy, lousy, tough,horrid, and very  distressing.

But one  of my fonder memories of those years is my having been, for thefirst time in my  academic career, obliged to purchase a book for a class: Myeighth grade English  teacher required each of us to buy a thesaurus.  Iacquired the then-new 1968 edition of the New American Roget’s CollegeThesaurus in Dictionary Form.

It was so liberating to suddenly have all of those related words at hand.I could more clearly and exactly express  what I was trying to write.  Itmade  writing more fun.  Since then, my  life has never been the same.But I  never knew a thing about Peter Mark Roget -- didn’t even know hisfirst name --  until now.  Thanks to Jen Bryant and  Melissa Sweet, I now knowhis story.

This guy  was a nerd more than two hundred years before the word nerd wasinvented!  Beginning as young child, his idea of  fun was to create lists ofwords.  He graduated medical school at 19.  As an adult his idea of a goodtime was attending lectures, and taking  part in meetings of sciencesocieties.  And, of course, making more word lists.Then, the  year he turned 73, his book of lists was finally published andhe was on his way  to immortality.

Despite  the eighteenth-century garb and accoutrements, Melissa Sweet’sRoget appears to  be someone with whom you can imagine playing kickball,.These  days, so many of us search online for synonyms and antonyms.  Giventhat these compilations of words all go back to the life work of Peter MarkRoget, it is great for kids to learn  about his unusual and notable story.

42 pages  978-0-8028-5385-1   Ages  7-11Recommended by:  Richie  Partington, MLIS, Librarian, California USA

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