Jerome collected words. He collected words for all sorts of reasons in Peter H. Reynolds story, The Word Collector. The Word Collector is the perfect piece to bring attention to language, both in how extraordinary it really is but also how impactful it can be when used with others.
From the beginning, words are highlighted as the center of this story. Words upon words spread across the cover beneath the jacket, both familiar and unfamiliar, representing the collection Jerome creates. As one continues through the story, the reader follows along as Jerome uncovers more and more words. Short words, two syllable words, and multi-syllable words. Jerome meticulously categorizes his words, but it isn’t until his words become jumbled after a fall that he begins to learn the importance of words and endless array of combinations that can be made from them.
With this realization in mind, he leaves behind his days of categorizing words and starts to make poetic combinations, placing words together that seemingly should never be placed together. This is what language is, an endless possibility. But this is just one aspect of Jerome’s realizations. He also sees how they can be used with others. Although he can collect words and have a never ending supply, there are those few word combinations that carry more meaning than a thousand others.
Once Jerome sees the importance of words, he decides to share it with the world. One day he takes his collection and releases each one to the world. Now it was others’ turn to collect their own words and find their own meaning through language.
The illustrations throughout the story are simple yet effective for creating cohesiveness throughout the story. They provide a simple companion to the message.
This would be a wonderful book to for children inside and outside the classroom. With cohesive and inviting pictures to match, The Word Collector is an impressive story. Not only does this book introduce children to new vocabulary that they can add to their repertoire like Jerome does but it also serves to make readers more away of language as its own entity. Children and adults often get lost in the words, forgetting that they aren’t just random strings of letters and sounds but tools that are used to make and convey meaning to share experiences with others. They can be written or spoken but whatever the method words are important. Language and our development of it is an incredible feat and it’s important to make children aware of what it is capable of and what they are capable of doing with it.
In the words of Peter H. Reynolds “Reach for your own words, tell the world who you are and how you will make it better”