Thursday, August 20, 2009

My First Dictionary: A twisted guide to word definitions for children

My First Dictionary is a wickedly funny Web site that takes quaint drawings from an old children’s dictionary and gives them a dark twist by adding sinister captions.
For example, a simple picture of a child tending a fire helps illustrate the definition of evidence. “Evidence is something that gets you into trouble. Jim has burned the evidence.”
My First Dictionary is the work of Ross Horsley, a 31-year-old from Leeds, U.K. He describes himself as a “Timid librarian by day ... Frenzied fan of gory slasher movies by night.”
His work is a great example of our remix culture. Horsley uses illustrations from someone else’s work and makes it his own through his writing. I would hope that this falls under the provisions of “fair use.”
In an April 2009 interview, Horsley said the pictures he uses are from an actual children’s book from the 1950s. “I’m expecting to get sued any day now! The truth is I can’t draw at all, so I have to rely on existing artwork,” he said.

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series on Tech-Media-Tainment’s favorite Web sites.

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