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The Find

A twisted send-up of a children’s dictionary

By Jan Gardner
Globe Correspondent / January 30, 2011

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In his new book “My First Dictionary: Corrupting Young Minds One Word at a Time’’ (It Books), Ross Horsley, a British librarian with a wicked sense of humor, skewers the adult world of lies and secrets, infidelities, and overindulgences. He accomplishes this by pairing cheery illustrations based on a children’s dictionary from the 1970s with his own twisted and irreverent definitions. Each word, from “abandon’’ to “zoo,’’ is used in a simply stated vignette involving adult subject matter, running the gamut from sexually transmitted diseases, pedophilia, and adultery to alcoholism, suicide, and murder. Horsley is an equal opportunity offender.