Friday, December 9, 2016
Non-Fiction Pick: Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White
by Melissa Sweet
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Fascinating and extensively researched, Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White pays homage to one of America's most beloved children's writers. Young readers will be amused and captivated by White's childhood notebooks and sketches. Showing artistic and literary promise from a young age, White's journals and papers narrate his life.
Bookish and shy, White was no good at sports although he did enjoy summers in Maine, canoeing and swimming. When WWI broke out, White did not weigh enough to serve in the military. He always loved Maine and returned there after college. After living and working in New York, he sought the solace of Maine and bought a farm that would end up being the model for Charlotte's Web.
It was unheard of in those days for a serious writer to jump from adult fiction to writing children's books, but White wrote Stuart Little which came under fire from critics and librarians. The adults did not know what children did. Young readers loved the fact that a mouse was born to a human family. Children could imagine!
Charlotte's Web is probably the most loved children's book of all time. Writer Eudora Welty praised it saying, "...as a piece of work it is just about perfect." Kate diCamilio says of White's style, "The thing about White that comforts and fascinates me (and challenges me) is how he manages to make his words matter more. It is as if he is able to make one word do the work of ten."
The book is marketed for middle readers it is enjoyable for anyone who loves words, writing, books, reading and magic. E.B. White made generations believe in magic decades before there was a young boy named Harry Potter, and we are all better for it. He believed, "Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick and generally congenial readers on earth....." Because of this, he never wrote down to them. He inspired them and was inspired by them.
HIGHLY, highly recommended for every reader from eight to eighty and beyond. This is one of the best biographies I have read.
FTC Required Disclaimer; I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.