Book Review: The Dictionary of Difficult Words

Book Review: The Dictionary of Difficult Words

dictionary cover

The Dictionary of Difficult Words

Written by Jane Solomon

Illustrated by Louise Lockhart

112 pages

Published by Frances Lincoln / Quarto Books

Publication date: 30th April 2019


Summary (from Goodreads):

What is a bumbershoot? Or a moonbow? And what does it mean when someone absquatulates…?

Find out all this and more in the Dictionary of Difficult Words. Test your knowledge with more than 400 words to amaze, confuse, and inspire budding wordsmiths (and adults). All of the words featured in this book are difficult to spell, hard to say, and their meanings are obscure to most children (and most adults)! Written with simple, easy-to-understand definitions by lexicographer Jane Solomon, this dictionary celebrates the beauty of the English language for family trivia time spent around the printed page.


Every classroom and home should have a copy of this beautiful book to encourage playfulness and joy in language!
Each word is accompanied by cute, colourful explanations which are child-friendly, often giving examples to assist in usage.

I learned a few new words, all of which I am planning to use in the near future:
Kakistocracy – a government ruled by the worst people…
Ultracrepidarian – someone who has very big opinions about things about which they know nothing
Sesquipidalian – someone who knows lots of big words and enjoys using them
Zeugma – a play on words where one word is used in two different contexts in the same sentence e.g. She devoured her book and sandwich.

I absolutely loved this quirky collection of words and will be getting my hands on a few copies for our school library!

What I liked: The selection of fantastic words, the cute illustrations, the straightforward explanations – everything about this is fantastic!

Even better if: I didn’t want it to be over! I think the selection of words necessarily had to be limited, but I would have loved this at twice the length!

How you could use it in your classroom: There are so many ways! You could use it to choose a word of a day to discuss or have as a challenge – use this in your discussions and writing today. You could use this to start a game where children create three definitions of a word, only one of which is correct, then have to guess in a group which is the right one. This should be an essential in your classroom!

(Thank you to Quarto for my e-ARC through Netgalley)

While you’re here, why not check out my reviews of My First Book of Gymnastics, Violet, Mira’s Curly Hair, Colour of People, Made by Maxine, Ada Lovelace, Love the Stationery in Your Classroom, The Day War Came, Stuck or Stardust?

Find me on Twitter , Goodreads or Instagram

Thanks for reading!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Love the illustrations on this one 👌 the concept is pretty cool too, would make a great coffee table book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s a beautiful book! I am planning to get a couple for my classroom!


  2. This is super cute, clever and beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t it gorgeous? I was really charmed by it and had several good sniggers at the words chosen and the fun explanations!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha. Sounds great.

        Liked by 1 person

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