Big Words for Little Geniuses by Susan and James Patterson and illustrated by Hsinping Pan

I first learned of this book when it was being promoted on the Today Show. I loved the concept as I am tired of picture books that dumb down vocabulary for kids. This may be the opposite as it is an ABC book filled with multi-syllabic (9 syllables in the first entry for A) that have fascinating, silly and whacky definitions with playful illustrations to get the imagination going. “Arachibutyrophobia” (spell check apparently hasn’t heard of it either) is not a word I learned in my family as we loved peanut butter so describing someone with “an alarming fear of peanut butter sticking to the top of the mouth” wasn’t necessary. At first you might think why would I want to read these long words to my kids? It’s actually a wonderfully engaging way to practice reading skills. Each word is divided by syllables of 2-4 letters with those accented in capital letters AND they are just plain fun to say! Which words sound like what they mean? “Catamampus” sounds like “tilted, diagonal, or just a little bit crooked,” right? I learned so many new words–I might just be a “Fliggertigibbet.” You’ll have to look that one up. As I progressed through the book I felt like many of the words sounded like their definition. It’s loads of fun to read with a child. Available here.

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