A girl collects words for the fun of it.
Inspired by her teacher, accompanied by her dog, and carrying a pink attaché case, Delores Thesaurus, who wears glasses and has braces on her teeth, searches for big words to add to her ever burgeoning stock. Tantalizing gems arise on signs and in overheard conversations, and these Delores eagerly writes down and stashes in her case. When a pelican flies off with the attaché case, Delores frantically pursues it, to no avail. Equally useless are Delores’ efforts to enlist help from various passers-by: Articulating some of her big words—incorrectly—to explain her plight, she fails to convey her desperation to seemingly uninterested bystanders. A kindly shopkeeper, a woman of color, finally steps in, gently helping the little white girl understand she had confused everyone with her inaccurate language and clarifying this point by defining the words. She hands Delores a dictionary, prompting the girl to adopt a new nickname. This overlong narrative, expressed in very clunky verse that often scans poorly, may try kids’ patience. The illustrations are colorful if static and incorporate some exciting words used in the text in addition to other interesting vocabulary; readers will enjoy poring over these in the drawings. The book also makes a subtle, welcome point by putting a woman of color in the position of linguistic expert.
It means well, but there are better books about the power of words. (Picture book. 6-8)