365 Words Everyone Should Know

Kane Miller. Mar. 2021. 192p. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9781684642083.
Gr 3-6–Holowaty deploys a chatty style and fun fact text boxes to lure readers. Airy design and copious, zany, often punning, black-and-white line sketches also help. Words are logically grouped in 24 categories such as history, music, money, sports, politics, “borrowed language,” and homophones. Avoiding general rules, the book opts for specific helpful spelling and pronunciation tips and offers many clever mnemonics. Holowaty gives words both their literal and metaphoric weight and explains usage oddities. The UK origin of this book shows (currant wouldn’t make anyone’s U.S. “should know” list), and most children will already know spaghetti, kindergarten, rhyme, and friend. But there’s umami, macabre, warlock, isobar, autonomy, and hosts of other useful words, with clear definitions and illustrative sentences. There could be more abstract words, but overall, kudos to Holowaty. Errors are few (contrary to Holowaty’s advice, it’s dangerous to reuse some plastic bottles), though suffragists should have replaced suffragettes.
VERDICT Increasing vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation proficiency is almost painless here; teachers and kids will find this book engaging.

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