Thorndike-Barnhardt Junior Dictionary

My daughters and I cannot pass up any opportunity to review a student dictionary! Every time we find one, and we have looked at dozens, we have several test words that we look up--God, Jesus, sin, man, woman, family, feminine, truth, and some others.

"God" and "sin" are usually the most telling evidences of the worldview of the authors. Whenever God is "supposed to be" or "thought to be," we know we have a dictionary with a humanistic world view. Whenever sin is "the violation of a religious law" as opposed to "a violation of God's commands," we know that the authors do not have a firm grasp on either sin or the sovereignty of God, who alone can define sin.

(Isaiah pronounced, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Man-made religions without fail will forbid righteousness and encourage unrighteousness.)

Overall, the Thorndike Century Dictionary and the Thorndike-Barnhardt Junior Dictionary are our favorite student dictionaries. Editions published prior to 1969 are compatible with our Christian world view and are sturdy, clothbound books of a manageable size and weight for children.

These books were published in huge numbers and are not hard-to-find. A Very Good or better copy should be easily found for $5-10 or less.

In this family of dictionaries, there are also a Beginner's Dictionary (which almost exclusively defines words that children already know), an Advanced Junior Dictionary, and a High School Dictionary. These higher-level books are, in our opinion, unnecessary. They are heavier and somewhat more difficult for young hands to manage--and by the time children are ready for them, they are fully capable of handling and using an adult dictionary.

The reason for considering a Junior Dictionary for younger children is practical. A full-size Webster's Unabridged is just too heavy for a child to manage--and a book too heavy to manage is easily dropped and broken.

For older children I recommend two dictionaries:

1. An old, unabridged Webster's Dictionary, either the 1828 original or any dictionary through the early 20th century. Early 20th century dictionaries are sometimes found very inexpensively. They preserve the thorough definitions and Biblical allusions of the original while adding many more words.)

2. Webster's American Family Dictionary. This is in-print. See AddALL to find the best price.

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