Illustrated Oxford Dictionary
Title: Illustrated Oxford Dictionary; Oxford University Press; Oxford
University Press; ISBN: 0-1954-1420-9; Hard Cover; 1,008 pages; CAN$ 64.95
Reviewer: Peter B. MacIntyre, "The value of this book to the developing minds
of the English speaking world may not be measurable. If you purchase any
book this year for your reference library this is certainly the one! "
"A Landmark piece of work !"
The Illustrated Oxford Dictionary, just recently published, is an astounding
piece of dictionary work! Published in conjunction with the Dorling Kindersley
company (known world-wide for its graphic art work), it is chalk full of vivid,
colourful, and detailed graphics which are well labelled and explained. With
over a thousand pages of content the value of this work far exceeds its modest
As this is a dictionary, it is expected that there are well defined concepts
and words. This publication is true to dictionary form as it is both well
written and well laid out. The definitions themselves are generally explained
in common English so that even young or challenged readers should have little
trouble with the readability. For example: "Stethoscope - n. an instrument
used in listening to the action of the heart, lungs, etc., usu consisting of
a circular piece placed against the chest, with tubes leading to earpieces."
This definition is then supplemented with a two by one inch graphic labelling
the parts that are mentioned in the definition.
Also, entire processes are diagrammed and explained. An example of this is
the definition of paper. Not only is it defined as a product of the pulp
industry ( "a material manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or
other fibrous substances, used for writing or drawing...") , but the entire
paper making process is diagrammed from the harvesting of the tree all the
way through the processing plant and out the other end as a finished product.
Occasionally entire pages are also employed to show variations on a theme,
one example is the word knot. Not only is the word defined, but also an
entire page is used to show 25 different styles of knots!
Even more value is offered in the reference section in the back portion of
this illustrated dictionary. Available here are world maps (relief and
political), flags and population counts of all the world countries, the night
sky (showing the constellations), tables of measurements, the periodic table
of the elements, geological time periods, and, of all things, the table of
laundry codes! I don't think that this book would make great reference
material in the laundry room, yet this is another example of the breadth
of its coverage.
Attention to detail like this cannot be found in the typical dictionary and
it is a very refreshing approach to transferring word and conceptual knowledge.
The value of this book to the developing minds of the English speaking world
may not be measurable. If you purchase any book this year for your reference
library this is certainly the one!
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