Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Jessica Lee Hutchings
Illustrator: Hazel Quintanilla
Publisher: Flowerpot Press
Delores loves collecting words. She listens to adults, writes down words that sound sophisticated and interesting, and places the collection in her purse. One day, a pelican swoops down and carries away her bag. Panicked, she does her best to appeal to adults by using some of the words she’s collected that day. However, since she hasn’t figured out what the words mean, she ends up confusing everyone. A shopkeeper finally figures out what Delores is trying to say and helps her get her purse back. She encourages Delores to learn what words mean before using them and gives her a dictionary to help her.
This delightful story is told in a fun, poetic style and is filled with opportunities for kids to learn how to identify the meanings of words based on context clues (although Delores provides her thesaurus and dictionary to help as well). The story emphasizes the importance of learning what a word means before using it. Furthermore, it teaches kids that clear communication is more than just using big, impressive words. The illustrations are bold with bright, contrasting colors. Many scenes are focused on Delores’s perspective as a kid—adults are most often represented only by their legs, as Delores is quite young and short. There are also many words hidden in the illustrations for kids to further investigate, engaging their curiosity and expanding their vocabulary.