A third grader asked me this interesting question about The Great Dictionary Caper.
Yes and no. Yes, I did (more or less), but it was no ordinary dictionary. It was The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary by Sue Young, which is an essential tool for kids and for adults who write for them. Why? It only contains words that pretty much everyone knows or will eventually know, plus common short phrases. It's fun to read, and sometimes I browse through it just to get my brain in poetry mode. When I was writing Counting Crocodiles, this dictionary gave me the idea of having each group of crocodiles doing something silly that rhymed with either crocodile or croc. Also, it has funny illustrations.
The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary hasn’t been updated in many years, which is a shame because it includes some slang and brand names. It seemed to be out of print, but there are always used copies available for a couple dollars via the usual sources.
I am an author and folklorist based in Portland, Oregon.
The Great Dictionary Caper, illustrated by Eric Comstock (Paula Wiseman Books, Simon & Schuster, 2018)
**Starred reviews from Publishers' Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist.
Wild About Books, illustrated by Marc Brown. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2004). New York Times Bestseller, ALA Notable Book, and winner of the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award.
Imagine That! How Dr. Seuss Wrote 'The Cat in the Hat"
(Random House, 2017). Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.
*Starred reviews from Publishers' Weekly and Kirkus.