Most children would rather eat their lima beans than look up a word in the dictionary. Guide words, phonics, and varying word forms fall prey to well-meaning answer givers, computer spell-checks, and old-fashioned laziness. When a child is told to look it up, the response is often a resounding groan. The solution? Fight fire with fire. When the folks at Merriam-Webster sought to develop the first dictionary with attitude, they went right to the source: that feisty feline himself, Garfield.

Anyone who has read Jim Davis's cartoons knows that Garfield is one cat who doesn't have time to be inconvenienced or uncomfortable. Garfield and Merriam-Webster was a logical partnership, creating a dictionary for children that is not only easy to use, but fun to use. Unlike its counterparts, The Merriam-Webster and Garfield Dictionary does not include obsolete words, highly technical words, or rare meanings of certain words. Instead this volume focuses on words commonly used around the classroom or office.

Following the basic A-Z section, there are several listings of names, foreign words and phrases, documentation and style techniques, and other helpful tidbits that enable youngsters to work independently.

Garfield, of course, is prevalent throughout the entire book, with cartoon clips that demonstrate usage of various words found on the corresponding pages. Garfield even has his own Daffy Definitions section, with hilarious words that are defined with Garfield's . . . er, unique spin.

A dictionary is one of the most important tools a student needs; a really good dictionary is invaluable. The Merriam-Webster and Garfield Dictionary is a great resource for a child who is reluctant to use a dictionary, or children who are learning basic dictionary usage. After all, spell-check isn't foolproof.

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