(B) Ages 4-8, (C) Ages 8-10, (D) Ages 10-12, (E) Ages 12-15, Book Reviews, Nonfiction, Starred Reviews
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*Some Writer! by Melissa Sweet

A wonderfully engaging biography of E. B. White for children: full of photographs, collage-style art, and interesting details.

rr_some-writer*Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016. 176 pages.

Reading Level: Middle Grades, Ages 10-12

Recommended For: Ages 7 and up, especially for children and families who enjoy E. B. White’s books

Did you know that “Andy” (as Elwyn Brooks White was known to his friends) once ventured cross country in a Model A with a college friend in search of adventure? Or that he was friends with James Thurber? Perhaps you already knew that he had a real, live Charlotte-like spider whose egg sac he observed hatching….

Full of fun and fascinating facts about E. B. White, this biography is more than a simple chronological account of White’s life. Sweet’s trademark collage-style illustrations are a perfect companion to the snippets of journal entries, photographs, and other memorabilia from White’s life that decorate the text. Sweet’s artistic style keeps the book childlike even while her text offers a full, rich story that parents will enjoy just as much as their children. Early chapters break up White’s life into his early years followed by his various “seasons” such as his time in Maine; the second half of the book includes a full chapter on each of White’s major works tandem with the events of his life during the same period (such as Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, Elements of Style, and Trumpet of the Swan). Fans of E. B. White’s children’s novels will enjoy this biography the most, but all readers will benefit from the story of a writer who found his real calling (writing children’s novels) rather late in life, who loved the natural world around him, and who delighted in telling a good story–even if it took several revisions to do so. We do well, too, to emulate White’s patient, rapt fascination with the natural world, particularly as it leads us to praise the Creator himself.

Cautions: none

Overall Rating: 5

Worldview Rating: 4.75

Artistic Rating: 5

*indicates starred review. This title is one of our Winter Book Fair picks this year! 

What is your favorite E. B. White book? Which one(s) have you read with your children?

 

Talk amongst yourselves...

5 Comments

  1. I was really excited to see this book! It’s a great companion for an E.B, White novel study. I’ve only read ‘Charlotte’s Web’ to my kids. Maybe we should change that… although they are currently hooked on Narnia so it will have to wait until we finish up with the series.

    • We’ve only read CHARLOTTE’S WEB and STUART LITTLE, but after reading this book, I’m bumping TRUMPET OF THE SWAN to the top of the TBR pile!

  2. Janie says

    The thing I loved most about this book was the beautiful quotes. For instance, here’s how he ended a letter to sixth-graders in a Los Angeles school who had sent him a collection of their essays: “I was pleased that so many of you felt the beauty and goodness of the world. If we can feel that when we are young, then there is great hope for us when we grow older.”

    He also sent them “what I think is the one of the most beautiful and miraculous things in the world–an egg.” Getting to know E. G. White through this book was a pleasure!

    • Yes, Janie–the quotes were lovely. I also really enjoyed reading about his writing process (such as how many times he changed the first chapter of Charlotte’s Web).

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