The Right Word
Roget and His Thesaurus
Imprint: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
"Words, Peter learned, were powerful things. And when he put them in long, neat rows, he felt as if the world itself clicked into order."
For shy young Peter Mark Roget, books were the best companions — and it wasn't long before Peter began writing his own book. But he didn't write stories; he wrote lists. Peter took his love for words and used it to organize his ideas and find exactly the right word to express just what he thought. His lists grew and grew, eventually turning into one of the most important reference books of all time.
This book is an inviting, visually engrossing portrayal of Peter Mark Roget and the creation of the thesaurus. Readers of all ages will marvel at Roget's life, depicted through lyrical text and brilliantly detailed illustrations. This elegant book celebrates the joy of learning and the power of words.
Awards and Recognition
Parents' Choice Foundation Parents’ Choice Award Gold Winner (2015)
American Library Association Caldecott Honor Book (2015)
American Library Association Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal (2015)
American Library Association Notable Children’s Books (2015)
Junior Library Guild Selection
2014 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers' Literature Finalist
2014 American Booksellers Association Best Books for Children Catalog
Society of Illustrators, "The Original Art" annual exhibition (2014)
California Reading Association Eureka! Honor Award (2014)
2015-2016 Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List
School Library Journal Best Books of 2014
Kirkus Best of 2014
Publishers Weekly Best Books (2014)
Horn Book Fanfare (2014)
Huffington Post Best Picture Books of 2014: Best Biography (Non-Artist)
New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2014
Booklist 2014 Editors' Choice: Books for Youth
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2015
2015-2016 Georgia Children's Picturebook Award Finalist
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators 2015 Golden Kite Award
National Council of Teachers of English 2015 Orbis Pictus Honor
The Children's Literature Assembly 2015 Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts List
Bank Street College Best Children's Books of the Year, 2015 Edition
Teachers' Choice 2015 Reading List
Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) 2015 Young Readers Selection
-- Publishers Weekly (STARRED Review)
"Sweet envisions Roget's work as a shadow box crammed with the wonders of the natural world, adorned with exuberant hand-lettered typography. Together with Bryant's sympathetic account, Sweet's gentle riot of images and words humanizes the man behind this ubiquitous reference work and demystifies the thesaurus itself."
-- Kirkus Reviews (STARRED Review)
Bryant's prose is bright and well-tuned for young readers. . . . Sweet tops herself -- again! -- 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!"
-- Booklist (STARRED review)
"In brilliant pages teeming with enthusiasm for language and learning, Bryant and Sweet joyfully celebrate curiosity, the love of knowledge, and the power of words."
-- School Library Journal (STARRED review)
“Those who have relied upon a thesaurus . . . will gain a greater appreciation for the reference tool in this beautifully designed picture book biography of its creator, Peter Roget. . . . Busy and exuberant, Sweet’s charming watercolor illustrations, layered over collages of vintage images and fonts, capture Roget’s passion for classification while also providing readers new opportunities for discovery. . . . Expertly researched and well written, Bryant’s narrative not only details the creation of the thesaurus; it also conveys a sense of Roget the man. . . . An excellent illustrated biography.”
The Horn Book (STARRED review)
"Apt language and ingenious imagery. . . . both decorous and warm."
-- Capitol Choices
"From its busy end pages this lively book brings to life a creator and the words he was fascinated by."
New York Times
"Spirited portrait of the Swiss-born Victorian who found an ingenious way to help people say what they mean."
"Young readers will see that each page of this book, like each page of 'Roget’s Thesaurus,' contains multitudes."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Encourages a sense of wonder. . . . Myriad visual temptations luring viewers into a fine browsing experience."
Midwest Book Review
“The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus is a fabulous illustrated junior biography, celebrating the richness and power of words, and the wonderful story of the man who organized and listed words to make them accessible to all who are literate.”
Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews
“In this remarkable book Jen Bryant’s lyrical text is paired with Melissa Sweet’s wonderful multimedia artwork to give young readers a compelling story about a man whose book of words, and their meanings, is now a valuable tool used by writers of all kinds.”