Reviewed by Shirley S. Ricks
This small volume features, in its largest section, a dictionary of over 1,000 terms with definitions and scriptural references (only one for each term) from the Book of Mormon. Claiming the book to be for adults and children alike, the authors (twelve are mentioned on the second page of the book) indicate it can serve as a learning or teaching tool. One of the most useful aspects of the dictionary, at least for older readers (who would be more likely to have a greater familiarity with simple nouns, verbs, and adjectives), includes the identification of proper nouns, both names and places. Place terms are identified by their distinguishing features such as cities, hills, valleys, and rivers. Names of individuals are clearly and accurately differentiated where more than one person bears the same name. Sprinkled throughout the dictionary are simple illustrations, which may appeal particularly to the younger reader. The reader is referred to the Pronouncing Guide in the scriptures for the suggested pronunciation of names.
Additional features of the volume include an illustrated reading chart with a box to mark off each chapter as it is read (clearly designed with the younger reader in mind); a children's reading guide that shows where some of the main stories are located; a graphic depiction of the various parts and writings comprising the Book of Mormon (although the graphics may be misleading in that there is no attempt to match the proportion of the book taken up by each part?the introductory material appears to take up as much room as does the section representing the small plates of Nephi); maps of the land southward and land northward (which are only approximations and not to be compared to any modern areas)1 meant to give a general sense of location; a chronological chart portraying the temporal relationships between the Jaredites, the Mulekites, and the Nephites and Lamanites; and suggested projects and crafts to be completed at the end of each individual book (to entice the younger reader to continue reading).
Despite the Companion's claim of usefulness to readers of all ages, it appears to be designed more with younger readers in mind, although, given the general disinclination of that particular age group to actually use a dictionary, the role of the adult reader may be to guide the younger reader in using this book.
- The maps bear a general location resemblance to figures found in John Clark, "A Key for Evaluating Nephite Geographies, Review of F. Richard Hauck, Deciphering the Geography of the Book of Mormon," Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 1 (1989): 20-70. Although "lands" are generally identified, some of the minor cities bearing identical names as the lands do not appear on the maps.