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The Great Dictionary Caper

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  408 ratings  ·  121 reviews
Words have secret lives. On a quiet afternoon the words escape the dictionary (much to the consternation of Mr. Noah Webster) and flock to Hollywood for a huge annual event—Lexi-Con. Liberated from the pages, words get together with friends and relations in groups including an onomatopoeia marching band, the palindrome family reunion, and hide-and-seek antonyms. It’s all g ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
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3.42  · 
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 ·  408 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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La Coccinelle
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, non-fiction
This book is actually kind of fun... though I would have a few reservations about recommending it to younger children.

Set around the idea of a bunch of words escaping from a dictionary, this book shows off different types of words, with (mostly) clear illustrations. We see onomatopoeia, antonyms, contractions, action verbs, rhymes, anagrams, palindromes, and more. The illustrations looked very retro to me, which I kind of liked.

My only complaint is that, on some pages, it wasn't always clear whi
Mm, some parts of this book didn't make sense. The title made the book sound more interesting than it was. I think it tried to be too full of words and types of words, like antonyms, than to have a storyline. It felt less like the words had escaped and more like they were just telling us about a bunch of types of words. I think the illustrator did the best he could with illustrating words that aren't as concrete as nouns.

Also, did they misspell rhyming on one page?! (Ryhming). Yikes.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was cute . . . but I simply must dock an otherwise-earned star from a lexicological book that includes a misspelled word ("Ryhming")!
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
I liked the idea of this book more than the execution, alas. It wouldn't do at all well as a storytime read, or really as a read-aloud at all. A good deal of the "story" is told through illustrations ("Story" in quotes because there's no real plot to speak of...) and so it really needs to be a one-on-one or an independent read.

It's a great take on wordplay, introducing some fun grammatical concepts like interjections and conjunctions in a way that shows what they do. I'm always going to be parti
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
disappointing all around...definitely not a true picture book...way too advanced for the young picture book audience...more for an english class...title was real adventure to be had...
Kristine Hansen
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Words come to life in this fun volume that playfully exposes children to the idea that words have special uses and meanings. A lot of fun, especially in seeing how the words interact. Any word nerd is going to love this book!
Caitlin Ostberg
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Typography is my favorite.
Robin Loughlin
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I think this book would best be used as a teaching tool, when learning different types of words such as verbs, nouns, homophones, and antonyms, and anagrams. If read too quickly, the reader won't get much out of it, but if you slow down and look at the words, how they are typed, and what they mean, it can be used as a teaching tool and to get discussion going to try and come up with other words in that category.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-books
The author misspelled the word rhyming (Ryhming) in the final copy. As in, I don't have an Advanced Reader Copy and this is about to go on my library's shelves. This looks especially bad when you consider this book is about words/grammar/spelling. The book looks like a picture book for the very young but I'm not sure how many very young children would be super interested in antonyms and all that. Not sure who this book is intended for to be honest.
This was a cute book but kind of quirky. The words in the dictionary are tired of being cooped up all the time and decide they need a break. The rest of the book is merely brightly colored pages of groupings of words that belong together (i.e. rhyming words, anagrams, palindromes, etc.). Personally, I found it a littel too busy and overwhelming but a child would probably enjoy it.
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I found the book quite amusing and loved the glossary in the back. However, the word "rhyming" is misspelled as "ryhming." I wonder how the editor missed that.
Cute illustrations, but they were so very BUSY that they often become visually overwhelming and distract and detract from the text. In this case, that is a big concern, because the whole point of the book is WORDS.

Also, the incorrectly spelled word "ryhming" is just not something one can overlook or ignore in a book about words like this.

Adorable, but substantially flawed.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Berry has no idea what homonyms or antonyms are, but she still found the book hilarious. I liked the combination of text and pictures to illustrate (see what I did there?) the meanings of the more difficult words.
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
When I first opened The Great Dictionary Caper, I have to admit to more than a little bit of skepticism as I read the first page: "Words can get bored. They sit in the dictionary, day in, day out. It's time for a break." Then I looked down at the illustrations and I began to really chuckle. Sure enough, there were words like skate, truck, ride, and go escaping the dictionary and heading a word parade. Naturally, the onomatopoeia marching band was at the head of the parade, playing such favorite ...more
Stephanie Bange
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Perhaps this is not fair to her, but I have become used to excellence from Judy Sierra. This one gets a lukewarm OK rating.

In the story, Noah Webster opens his dictionary to let out words for a word parade. When they begin to misbehave after awhile, he makes them get back in the dictionary, but then sees them doing the same misbehaving in Roget's thesaurus.

The presentation of the text and the examples given make reading this book aloud a somewhat short and choppy experience, making for disjointe
PreS- Gr 1-With a “Ready Set Go”, all the words in Webster’s Dictionary jump out to partake in a parade. Led by conductor “I”, each double spread introduces readers to a new group of words. Even though the nature of homophones, antonyms, and the rest is made fairly clear through the use of examples, younger children may need some guidance; terms are only explained in a glossary, and some uncommon words may cause consternation when seeing and sounding it out for the first time (onomatopoeia is on ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
The Great Dictionary Caper by Judy Sierra, PICTURE BOOK. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. $18. 9781481480048



The words in Webster’s Dictionary have gotten bored of sitting around in his book all day and decide to go on an adventure. Different words are highlighted and depicted as their own parts of speech. There are antonyms and contractions, verbs and proper nouns. Eventually, Webster enlists the help of Roget and
Little Crooked Cottage
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The words have escaped the dictionary! Before Noah Webster and Peter Mark Roget set things straight, check out the onomatopoeia marching band, the showy action verbs, the tangoing homophones, and more!

We're big fans of irreverent books that shake up the order of things, and of course, WORDS — so we think Judy Sierra's playful text and Eric Comstock's graphic, lively illustrations are, dare we say, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Kids will love knowing that words need to break for recess som
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
When the words in Noah Webster’s dictionary get bored just sitting around, they escape and create plenty of word fun in this picture book. They form a word parade made of works like “clang” and “boom” and “crash.” There are short words and long words, action verbs pick up the pace. Homophones, contractions, antonyms and palindromes fill the pages too. Rhyming words and words with no rhymes as well as interjections and conjunctions make merry. There is plenty to enjoy here, including witty humor ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
There is a feel to this story that it is old. It is not old, but would be a tough book to read aloud and I am not sure the illustrations will hold an audience with the variety of words bouncing out. My big exception is the interjections page which has speech bubbles that will appeal the students in my schools, for sure. The colors are muted feeling rather than vibrant. Since my students do not have much experience with dictionaries in print, I am not sure this book will satisfy many of them. Eng ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I feel like this book was okay, but is not really necessary to be on a list of "must-read picture books in 2018" which is where I found it.
It was someone disappointed and while for slightly older/more advanced readers (yet still early) it could be good as it includes lots of words to practice and yet has few words in sentences, the story itself was, well, not really much of a story.
The description on this inside cover asks "How will Noah Webster restore alphabetical order?" but at the end of t
Gwen Ayler
Great mentor text to review the types of words such as action verbs, nouns, homophones, onomatopoeia, etc. The story starts with Noah Webster letting the words out of his dictionary to go on a parade. Not such a great story to read before bedtime but a wonderful one if you're teaching an English class in elementary school.

Update: After reading some comments and reviews after writing mine, I see that they misspelled the word rhyming on one page (took me a moment to find because it wasn't the page
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kid-stuff
So...I love the concept here. All the words escape from the dictionary and go on to have an adventure. That's a lot of fun! And I even like how they're all presented in colorful categories, such as action verbs and onomatopoeia. However, I'm not entirely sure who the target readership would be, since the format makes it a difficult book for an adult to share during story-time. I suppose I would suggest this one to a young reader who is interested in vocabulary, has the skills to read some of the ...more
This clever picture book takes young readers on a holiday with a group of words that got bored just hanging around in the dictionary. As the words all make their getaway, readers are introduced to concepts such as onomatopoeia, action verbs, contractions, and other special types of words. The cute illustrations, the fun examples of word concepts, and the glossary at the back of the book make this a good ELA resource to have in a classroom library.
Laura G
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
I liked the playful way that various types of words were presented on each spread. I can imagine reading this book aloud once (not the best read aloud), and then letting kids look at it on their own and referring back to certain pages at opportune times. Its too bad that there wasn't more of a storyline to the "great caper"-- that part was underdeveloped. And the typo on "ryhming"--how in the world?? But overall, I found it to be an appealing book for certain purposes.
mary dewley
Mar 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
Some of the word choices are way beyond the appropriate reading level. The illustrations are too busy and sometimes confusing, especially if you are unfamiliar with the word or particular term that is being illustrated. The artwork is flimsy and the dashes and lines are a geometric nightmare to look at. It tries to adopt the style of Dr. Seuss, but is not very entertaining, pleasant or even thought provoking.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved the idea going in, but I think it's a bit complex and busy. I'm not sure who the audience is? I was thinking a readaloud for story time, but the age being read to would be too young to understand many of the words. Also, someone else pointed it out and now I can't get past the fact that they spelled "rhyming" incorrectly (ryhming!) I gave it 3 stars even though I didn't totally enjoy it because I just love wordplay so much.
Kat Harrison
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
THE GREAT DICTIONARY CAPER is best served as a teaching tool for word-aholics, or perhaps as an end-of-unit treat in English/grammar (vs. a bedtime or read-aloud text). It's a somewhat plotless work, chugging along with the vague premise that words get bored and need a break sometimes, so they escape from the dictionary. To me, the true stars are the illustrations, which personify the words into moving, grooving, silly characters all on their own.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
first...who says picture books have to be for young children? a lot of reviewers have given low stars because this isn't a bedtime book or for younger kids. Duh! it doesn't have to be. this book is a perfect example of grammar and the illustrations turn an otherwise boring school task (learning grammar and parts of speech) into a fun little jaunty read.

The typo stinks that is for sure, but it will help me with my K and 1st grade students.
Erin Buhr
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a blast for word nerds (which I of course mean in the best way possible and with my own hand raised). The words have all escaped the dictionary in this zany story and are having quite the wordish event. Each page has a group of different kinds of words like palindromes having a family reunion or action verbs showing off. A great book to share with early elementary schoolers or just to read for a rollicking good time. 
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I took a roundabout path to becoming a children's author. Out of college I did temporary work in offices and libraries, while at night, I wrote poetry and made strange life forms from cloth. When I teamed up with a puppeteer, Bob Kaminski (my husband), I was able to bring my cloth creations to life. We began performing on the streets of San Francisco, at Renaissance fairs, and at schools. After at ...more