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By Alison Wilcox

Published by Routledge 2018
Previous editions published by Routledge 2009, 2013 

ISBN: 9781138093027

300 pages

Only available in hardback



Now in a fully updated third edition, Descriptosaurus is the first book for creative writing that is a thematic expansion of a dictionary and a thesaurus; it provides children with a comprehensive resource with which to expand their descriptive vocabulary, experiment with sentence structure and build up narratives based around settings, characters and creatures.


Descriptosaurus positions the word, zooms in on it to examine the meaning, expands it into phrases, and then provides alternatives in words, phrases and sentences. The model was created and refined over a number of years as a result of feedback from children inside and outside the classroom as to the resources they required to inspire and assist them with their writing. For reluctant writers or those faced with 'blank page syndrome', it provides the essential starting points to encourage putting pen to paper, not only inspiring children, but also building their confidence, encouraging them to use, apply and create using the correct grammatical structures, and adding colour to their writing through evaluation and experimentation.

New features for this third updated edition include:

  • sample poems;
  • word banks and model sentences to provide a step-by-step process for development of vocabulary and understanding of phrase, clause and sentence structure;
  • contextualised grammar and punctuation instruction and guidance;
  • units of work where the models can be incorporated in a creative focus; and
  • a companion website containing all the features of the book, games, planning sheets and vocabulary builders.


This is an ideal resource to dramatically improve children's creative writing for all KS2 primary and KS3 secondary English teachers, literacy coordinators and parents. It would also make and excellent classroom book for PGCE students, particularly Primary PGCE with English specialism.


Alison Wilcox has extensive teaching experience in schools in England and Scotland. Colleagues describe her methods as "innovative and inspirational to even the most reluctant of writers."

Reviews of previous editions:


"This book is a treasure trove of descriptive language... Highly recommended for both teachers and parents. I wish I'd had a copy of this book when I was a full time English teacher! Invest in a copy today; you'll be glad you did."
Sue Cowley, bestselling author, teacher and teacher trainer


"Help to banish 'blank page syndrome' forever with this innovatove book... Created by teacher, Alison Wilcox, this inspirational book will build children's confidence in their writing ability."

Literacy Time Plus


"A real 'godsend' to hard-pressed teachers, parents and pupils."

Denis Hayes, author of Foundations of Primary Teaching


"...perfect for the modern day classroom... fantastic!"

Emma Palastanga, primary deputy head


"The... book will be so helpful to teachers who are struggling to think of different ways to say things and will enhance their planning and teaching. As a classroom resource it will be invaluable."

Elaine Smitheman, primary school teacher