FICTION

The Great Dictionary Caper

illus. by Eric Comstock. 40p. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481480048.
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PreS-Gr 1—With a "Ready Set Go," all the words in Webster's Dictionary jump out to take a break and join in a parade. Led by the grand marshal "I," each spread introduces readers to a new group of personified words. Even though the nature of homophones, palindromes, antonyms, and the rest is made fairly clear through the use of examples, younger children may need some guidance; terms are only explained in a glossary, and some uncommon words may cause consternation when seeing and sounding them out for the first time (onomatopoeia is one of the hardest). Space and a limited palette of orange, blue, green, black, and white differentiate paired words from others. Scribbles decorate, and often "define" these words. The most common decoration to be found are the faces usually drawn on every letter. It can be a bit distracting, however, and while the text is readable, the nonsensical narrative is completely forgettable.
VERDICT An amusing introduction to the intricacies and oddities of the English language; with some guidance, young elementary students might actually learn a thing a two.

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