The Word Collector
Written and illustrated by: Peter Hamilton Reynolds
Willow, Torrential, Whisper, Kaleidoscope – each word has its own sound, every word has its own meaning.
Jim (Jerome in the original version) collects words. He puts them in order and categorizes them, he truly loves them. And by emptying his collection of words into the wind, he expresses his belief that words can make the world a better place.
In praise of language, The Word Collector celebrates the wonderful opportunities that open up to those who notice every single word.
“With ten utterances the world was created”
(Ethics of the Fathers, 5:1)
Jewish tradition attributes great importance and power to words. They can build and nurture, but are also potentially destructive. We all use words all day long: we read, write, speak, and hear them. But how often are we aware of their strength and impact?
Enjoy reading and discussing the book together!
Proposed Family Activities:
- You may want to leaf through the book together, and notice the combinations of words and illustrations. Is your child familiar with many of the words comprising Jim’s collection?
- Perhaps you could open a dictionary, or go to Milog at milog.co.il, to show your child just how rich the Hebrew language is. You could even create a family dictionary: decorate a special notebook, adding new and interesting words to it each time. Your child could illustrate the dictionary too.
- You may want to ask your child why they think Jim chose to empty his collection into the wind. Is there anything that makes you particularly happy that you would like to share with others?
- Like Jim, many children enjoy collecting things – pebbles, cards, special napkins from cafes. Did you have a collection as a young child? Share those memories with your child, they may inspire them to continue the family tradition, or start a collection of their own.
- Words are a great way of expressing our feelings. Perhaps you could make notes, write your feelings on them, add a drawing, and stick them on your fridge, front door, or headboard. These notes may be used when we want to express our feelings and cannot seem to find the right words to do so.
- Do you remember any words your child mispronounced when they were just learning to speak? If so, share them with your child, and write them down so that you will never forget.