The Weighty Word Book

The Weighty Word Book

by Janet Stevens, Elissa S. Guralnick, Douglas A. Burger

This classic children's vocabulary builder features a new format and fresh art by Caldecott honoree Janet Stevens. Ages 9 and up.  See more details below


This classic children's vocabulary builder features a new format and fresh art by Caldecott honoree Janet Stevens. Ages 9 and up.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis J. Perry
Twenty-six vocabulary words, one offered for each letter of the alphabet, provide the basis for one- to three-page vignettes, each containing puns that provide mnemonic devices for remembering definitions of difficult words. For example, four foreigners in a bar are laughed at by the locals when in heavily accented voices they place their drink order: "Please, vee vant ...zen, uh, fo bee-hu" which teaches the word "xenophobia." Similarly, the careless sign painter who left off the letter "S" when he painted the sign for Slack City, ends up with a sign, "Lack City," which teaches the word "laxity." The clever stories are elaborate in construction, taking round-about paths to lead to the punch line. Delightful color illustrations, mostly of animals, enliven this reprint of the original book. This creative approach will appeal to those who enjoy puns and vocabulary-building taught in a colorful picture book format. Reviewer: Phyllis J. Perry
Certainly this is a unique way to teach kids the meaning of more complex words—by introducing intricate stories that explain the meaning of each word. From A To Z, readers will be entertained by funny stories that illustrate difficult words such as truculent, xenophobia, laxity, and misdemeanor. 2000, Court Wayne Press, $17.95. Ages 5 to 12. Reviewer: G. Henebry SOURCE: Parent Council, September 2001 (Vol. 9, No. 1)
Children's Literature
This book is a real hoot—a giggle-producing wonder. It is an alphabet book for mid-grade and even slightly older kids. That may seem rather strange, and the little stories that introduce each letter may seem even stranger, with animal characters whose stories end up vehicles for "weighty words'" meanings. The book does double-duty, then, as a vocabulary-builder, and the oddball characters and the situations in which they find themselves are captivating. The letter "C," for example, has as its story the tale of Cora the Hippo, who is a figure skater. Auditioning for an exhibition, she "jumped and spun in midair...Her loops and curves were glittering. Her costume was sparkling..." She so impressed the judge that he "walked away mumbling, 'boy, can that Cora skate...'" And the weighty word that you'll remember that means "to glitter or gleam, to sparkle or flash" is CORUSCATE. The illustrations are pure fun. Kids who love words will love this book. Highly recommended. 2000, Court Wayne Press, $17.95. Ages 8 to 15. Reviewer: Judy Silverman

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Product Details

Rinehart, Roberts Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st Roberts Rinehart Edition
Product dimensions:
9.38(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.56(d)
Age Range:
9 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Paul M. Levitt is a professor at the University of Colorado. He is also author of Chin Music (also available from Roberts Rinehart).

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