The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jennifer Fisher Bryant Book Review

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jennifer Fisher Bryant
Illustrations by Melissa Sweet
Publisher: Eerdman's
Release Date: September 15, 2014

Books are Peter Mark Roget's companions and the more he reads the more he is inspired to write his own. Not fiction though, instead Roget makes lists of words, words that are like other words. He orders the list according to ideas rather than alphabetization and for a long time only his family knew of his many lists. It is his same family that encourages him to seek publication. Of course, there were other books out there that resembled Roget's lists, but none so carefully thought out or thorough. Soon everyone was talking about Roget's book, the Thesaurus and it soon become one of the most important reference books of all time.

The sheer genius of the biographical picture books that came out in 2014 was astounding. Although there are still those boring and dry biographies being published, these masterpieces have begun to take their place, finding a home somewhere between the history section and the picture books. Roget doesn't seem like an obvious choice for a children's picture book either. Although his contributions to the world cannot be denied, the illustrating of something like words and lists seems a daunting task. Melissa Sweet handles it with her usual pizzazz, orchestrating page after page of artistically rendered lists and pictures that make the reader want to slow down, simply to savor the pictures. As Roget matures so do the lists and illustrations as well. It is always a difficult thing with these biographies, but Bryant creates a wonderful through line so that her young readers can relate to the character as he grows older throughout the story. Wonderfully executed, this book showcases the craftmanship of three great people Roget, Bryant, and Sweet.