Merriam-Webster's primary dictionary

Merriam-Webster, Inc

Book - 2005

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room j423/Merriam Checked In
Springfield, Mass. : Merriam-Webster c2005.
Physical Description
12, 436 p. : col. ill
Corporate Author
Merriam-Webster, Inc (-)
Other Authors
Ruth Heller, 1924- (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

This dictionary for ages four to seven is crafted in a lighthearted style that can only be described as entertaining. Unlike typical early reader dictionaries of one-syllable and four- or five-letter words, this one has entries for concepts such as the words worry and terrible in addition to the usual nouns and verbs. Each page generally has three or four definitions and almost as many illustrations. Font size is large enough to keep early readers interested. Headwords are highlighted in a contrasting color from the definitions. Definitions include the elements one expects to find in a dictionary (though not necessarily one for this level)--parts of speech, synonyms, antonyms, usage examples, cross-references to related words, and word histories. The entry for the word fairy includes historical roots from Old French and Latin. In addition, there may be stories and poems. The Sleeping Beauty story is condensed to two sentences, each using the word fairy. The definition of science includes information on different branches of sciences; for example, "Chemistry is the science of what things are made of." There are dozens of corny word jokes and puns that children love scattered randomly through the book, such as the well-worn "Why are fish so smart? They travel in schools." A "How to use the dictionary" page for readers is followed by a two-page preface for parents and educators. The back of the dictionary contains a section called "Spelling Words and Word Functions^B." A two-page time line describes the evolution of the English language,^B referring to words in the dictionary by highlighting them in bold print. Children will want to skim the pages just to read and amuse themselves and will learn the mechanics of a dictionary without even realizing it. There is not a hint of condescension to the reader, and for that reason, the dictionary would work well in the special classroom for older children who may have reading delays. This is a charming work that has been put together with care and purpose. Recommended for public and school libraries. ((Reviewed October 1, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 3 -This work, which displays an extraordinary level of care in its presentation, includes almost 1000 entries, each used in a sentence. Many of the main entries have "bonus words," e.g., related terms or derivations, and some offer basic information on etymology. Jokes and puns that highlight entries are set off in blue banners. The more than 750 large and colorful drawings, most by Heller, add clarity and interest. The design is excellent: large print, lots of white space, lots of visuals, and the use of icons all work together to present words and language in ways that will enlighten and engage children. Unfortunately, the introductory section lacks an explanation of alphabetical order. John Grisewood and Angela Crawley's The Kingfisher First Dictionary (2004) is also aimed at this audience but its definitions lack consistency, and some readers may find the layout confusing. Primary Dictionary has many uses: for children and parents to peruse together, for instruction, and for children to browse through and mull over. A gift to budding wordsmiths.-Ellen Loughran, Library Consultant, Brooklyn, NY [Page 90]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

New title! A beginner's dictionary written for children features hundreds of captivating illustrations by celebrated children's author Ruth Heller. Nearly 1,000 entries include definitions, example sentences, and word histories. Introduces basic dictionary skills such as alphabetization, spelling, pronunciation, use of synonyms and antonyms, and using words in context. Packed with jokes, poems, and fun facts to foster and develop a child's language skills.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Offers nearly one thousand illustrated entries; introduces basic dictionary skills; references famous stories, fairy tales, and myths; and includes tips on spelling, word usage, and alphabetizations.