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Written by Linda Hayward
Illustrator Joe Mathieu
Published October 1980
Publisher Random House
Pages 253
ISBN 0394840070

The Sesame Street Dictionary is a collection of more than 1,300 words and definitions. Each word is illustrated with a Sesame Street cartoon by artist Joe Mathieu. With 250 pages and an average of six different illustrations per page, the Dictionary is packed with Sesame comedy.

The book was vigorously advertised in newspapers and TV commercials.[1] It was later divided up into several volumes of Big Bird's Sesame Street Dictionary.

One of Mathieu's hallmarks is his sincere appreciation for the Sesame characters. The Dictionary is faithful to the show's style and spirit. It features dozens of Sesame characters, including some that were rarely seen in books and merchandise at the time of publication.

Some of the rare characters are:

The entire list of characters is:

The Amazing Mumford, Baby Breeze, Bad Bart, Barkley, Bartholomew Bird, Bernice the Pigeon, Bert, Betty Lou, Biff, Big Bad Wolf, Big Bird, The Busby Twins, The City Mouse, Connie the Witch, Cookie Monster, Count von Count, The Country Mouse, Crummy and Yucchy, Don Music, Ernie, Farley, Farmer Grover, Fatatatita, Forgetful Jones, Frazzle, Fred the Wonder Horse, Granny Bird, Granny Fanny Nesselrode, Grover, Grover Knover, Grover's Mommy, Guy Smiley, Hard Head Henry Harris, The Hare, Herbert Birdsfoot, Herry Monster, Kermit the Frog, Lasso Louise, Lefty, Little Bird, Little Chrissy and the Alphabeats, Little Jerry and the Monotones, Little Miss Muffet, Little Pig, Little Red Riding Hood, Marshal Grover, Maurice Monster, Mr. Chatterly, Mr. Hooper, Mr. Johnson, The Mudman, Oscar the Grouch, Osvaldo, el Gruñón, Pamela Monster, Prairie Dawn, Prince Charming, Robin the Frog, Rodeo Rosie, Roosevelt Franklin, Roosevelt Franklin's Mother, Rubber Duckie, Sam the Robot, Sammy the Snake, Sherlock Hemlock, Slimey the Worm, Smart Tina, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Sully, Super Grover, Tessie Twiddlebug, Thomas Twiddlebug, The Three Bears, The Tortoise, Twiddlebugs, Uncle Uno, Waiter Grover, Witches

Layout proofs[]


Dictionary use

Robin's cameo.

  • The Sesame Street Dictionary has not been out of print since its original printing in 1980.[2]
  • The Dictionary self-references itself in the entries for "dictionary," "use," "whale," and "word."
  • All writers and editors at Sesame Workshop are given copies of the Dictionary as a reference for characterization and style.[2]
  • Joe Mathieu handled page layouts and type in addition to the illustrations.[2]
  • Mathieu recalls working on the project on his website:

This was quite a project! It took approximately two and a half years to complete, and that was with someone helping with some of the painting! I had to dig deep to come up with so many scenarios, and the design of each page was a challenge, but I'm told that the book inspired a number of artists who worked on other Sesame Street projects! To keep from falling apart during this period, I took up cycling, which saved me!

Other releases[]

Marketing and press[]


  1. Philadelphia Daily News "Death of a Child Star" by Robert Strauss, March 06, 1979
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 email communication with Joe Hennes

External links[]

  • "The Story of the Sesame Street Dictionary" at Part 1 and Parts 2 & 3 (archived)