REFERENCE

Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary

illus. by Quentin Blake. 288p. Oxford University. Sept. 2016. Tr $20.99. ISBN 9780192736451.
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Gr 2–5—Roald Dahl fans, writers, and lovers of language will delight in this unusual dictionary filled with whimsical wordplay and full-color illustrations by Blake. In each entry, a quote from one of Dahl's stories or poems uses the word in a sentence (for instance, for "scrumdiddlyumptious," from The BFG, "Fleshlumpeater says he is never eating queen and he thinks perhaps she has an especially scrumdiddlyumptious flavour"). Each spread contains several nonsense or invented terms or names of characters from the author's books; these are highlighted in blue to differentiate them from standard English words. In addition, there are "ringbelling rhymes" for would-be poets, "sparky synonyms," and lengthier sidebars called "Gobblefunking with Words," which may prompt lessons on subjects such as similes, metaphors, prefixes, suffixes, alliteration, spoonerisms, compound words, and onomatopoeia. Teachers will find the detailed lists of synonyms for commonly used words ("big," "small," "bad," "good," "move," and "say") particularly useful for aspiring writers. Occasional "Did You Know?" headings and footnotes discuss word origins and interesting facts ("A malapropism is when you use a word by miss cake"). Teachers and librarians might want to feature a Dahl "word of the day" during this centennial year—or any year.
VERDICT A delightful, inspiring, and unique reference for most collections.

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