Saturday, October 21, 2017

There's a Word for That? Big Words for Little Geniuses by Susan and James Patterson

arachibutyrophobia: (n.) an alarming fear of peanut butter sticking to the top of your mouth

It's no wonder that a best-selling author like James Patterson has a case of logophilia (n. a love for words). After all, doesn't a chef love food or an artist love colors?

But kids love words, too. Ask any teacher, who probably says "No talking," too many times each day.

And James and Susan Patterson's alphabetic compendium of deliciously long words, Big Words for Little Geniuses Little, Brown and Company, 2017), is a funfest for juvenile logophiles. If you have a secret language for encoding those words, what you have is idioglossia. There is even a power word for having goosebumps all over your person (horripilation) or flowing sweetly (dulcifluous) or possessed of loveliness (pulchitrudinous).

And if your pedantic logophilia leads to a love of books, what you've got is bibliomania!

But big words don't all come with pedantic Greco-Latinate roots. There are also some playfully goofy words to love just for the sound of them--like nincompoop, flibbertigibbet, gobbledygook, whirligig, and kerfuffle, words that sorta sound like what they are, words that feel good rolling off the tongue, but (to bring us around full circle), are not recommended to be attempted with a mouth full of peanut butter.

When it comes right down to it, all kids are geniuses when it comes to words, considering that they easily learn thousands and thousands of them in their early years. The Pattersons' Big Words for Little Geniuses, illustrated by Hsinping Pan with verve but not necessarily verisimilitude, is a book with brio that brings out the logophilia in all of us, regardless of age, even if we don't have xenoglossia! (Look it up!)



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