LONG LIST REVIEW: The Word Collector

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Collectors collect all sorts of things things: coins, stamps, even art. However, Jerome is a collector of words. He collects the words he hears, sees and reads. Words stand out to him, jump out at him and even jump off the page. His collection contains short words, two-syllable treats and multisyllabic words that sound like songs. Some words are wonderful to speak aloud and others are fascinating because they suit their meaning. Jerome would fill his scrapbooks with words such as 'bellow', 'ascend' and 'shimmer'.

One day whilst transporting his word journals, an accident jumbles his words together and Jerome discovers that the words sound wonderful when placed next to each other.  He begins to use the  words to write poems and songs; he finds that the best words are the simplest ones- words such as ‘thank you’, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I understand’. Jerome continues to collect more and more words and on a breezy afternoon, he is determined to share his words with as many people as possible and empties his collection into the wind.

Jerome realises that it isn’t just the beauty of the words, but their power, when shared with others, that is important. Author, Peter H. Reynolds’ words at the end of the book illustrate this perfectly, “Reach for your own words, tell the world who you are and how you make it better.”

‘The Word Collector’ is an inspiring read for all logophiles (lovers of words), a charming collection of words and illustrations which will encourage readers to see the power of the words around them. This book is perfectly suited for sharing with children of all ages in the classroom and provides an excellent springboard for word work. Children may want to begin their own word collections, as Jerome did: sorting word collections into categories, arranging them into unusual groupings and investigating the power of simple words. Children may want to go on a word hunt looking for words they have heard, seen and read, collecting them in word journals. Word and phrase meanings could also be explored through developing dictionary and thesaurus skills. Word collecting may extend to investigating famous wordsmiths such as E.E. Cummings and William Shakespeare. Like Jerome, they could write poems and songs.

The book could also be a starting point for investigating the etymology of some words, words that have been adopted into English from other languages and the wealth of words which are created as the language evolves and develops.

Children could be encouraged to create 'Top Trump' style cards for their favourite words, using the different categories to explain their appeal and try to convince others that their favourite words are worthy of collection! 

Each of Peter H. Reynolds’ books have been created to inspire. His hope is to make, “Stories that matter, stories that move.” To find out more about his books, take a look at his website . You will also find there his top tips for encouraging creativity.

The Word Collector  Peter H. Reynolds

Orchard Books    ISBN: 978-0545865029