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Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White (Ala Notable Children's Books. All Ages) Hardcover – October 4, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–7—Throughout his life, E.B. White (1899–1985) divided his time between New York City and Belgrade Lakes in Maine. He drew inspiration for his books from the bucolic setting near author Sweet's own home and studio. Readers and writers will relate to stories of White's childhood—he was "scrawny" and "fearful" but in love with words. As a child, he contributed short pieces to magazines, winning awards for his studies of nature, dogs, and his family. Some of his youthful creations, such as essays, poetry, and a handmade brochure, are included. Readers may be surprised to find that "Andy" spent his adult years at The New Yorker working with writers like John Updike and James Thurber and that his most ubiquitous book may actually be The Elements of Style. Much of the information on White's adulthood is organized in the volume by his major children's publications. Portions of handwritten and typed drafts of Charlotte's Web will serve as inspiration for young writers. The book is illustrated in Sweet's signature watercolor and collage, which incorporates wood and hardware, vintage office supplies, and quotes from White. Detailed tableaux invite careful inspection and reward readers with connections to the subject's work. Photos of the author and the animals upon which he based his stories will delight readers. In addition to providing carefully chosen words and beautiful illustrations, the biography serves as a stealthy introduction to primary source material, and for the teacher librarian, the text is a rich source of nonfiction features, including a how-to on using a manual typewriter. An afterword by White's granddaughter is an added bonus. VERDICT Drop everything and share widely.—Deidre Winterhalter, Niles Public Library, IL
Amazon the Overall Pick for Best Book of 2016 in Nonfiction for Young Readers
Booklist Editors' Choice 2016
Book Links’ Lasting Connections 2016
Book Page Best of 2016
Bulletin Blue Ribbon 2016
Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books of 2016
Horn Book Fanfare
Kirkus Best of 2016
Nerdy Book Club Nerdies 2016 Longform Nonfiction
New York Times Bestseller
People Best Children’s Books of 2016
Publishers Weekly Best of 2016
Raleigh News & Observer Best of 2016
San Francisco Chronicle Best of 2016
School Library Journal Best of 2016
Shelf Awareness Best Books of the Year
Nonfiction Detectives: Best of 2016
Washington Post Best of 2016
★ "E. B. White is such a fixture in the children’s literature landscape that it’s hard to think of him as a regular person. Fortunately, Melissa Sweet comes to the rescue in this individual, creative, and thoroughly artistic chronicle of the noted writer’s life." —Bulletin, starred review
★ "An excellent guide to the life of a celebrated writer." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Like Charlotte, Sweet spins a terrific story. A masterful biography." —Kirkus, starred review
"Melissa Sweet's beguiling biography of the author of Charlotte's Web deserves to be savored by anyone who has ever loved White's words."
"An E. B. White biography like no other." —BookPage
"Whether the name E. B. White is a new discovery or a much-loved author, Some Writer! will captivate readers of all ages."
—Christian Science Monitor
★ "Drop everything and share widely." —School Library Journal, starred review
★ "Sweet raises her collage skills to new heights while bringing her love and admiration for fellow Mainer E. B. White to the page for everyone to appreciate. Just as her astounding collages blend materials that might have been found in a barn in Maine, the text carefully blends her words with those of the beloved writer of children’s books... Sweet has written and drawn a fast-moving, thorough, deeply researched, and accessible biography." —Horn Book, starred review
★ " This beautiful piece of bookmaking with enchanting artwork will easily draw in young readers, and the warm account of the adored author will keep them turning pages." —Booklist, starred review
"What elevates this book to the stratosphere is the art. Practically glowing, it turns a very fine biography into something original, creative, and marvelous." —NerdyBookClub.com
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Top Customer Reviews
He started out in his profession as a writer of essays for adults at The New Yorker. Much later he became a writer for children after his long affiliation with animals of all kinds on his farm. He was especially fond of one particular pig, He also became fascinated with the ways of the common grey spider, and from these two critters, he wove the story of Charlotte's Web. The "story of the story," you might say, just a small portion of this book, is simply captivating.
This book is filled with illustrations, photos, letters, and quotes to help us get to know this fine gentleman. Melissa Sweet has put together the most engrossing biography I have ever read. For example, did you know that White's book, "Stuart Little," was banned from libraries when it was first published? This and many other interesting tidbits are included in the biography.
This book was written for ages 7 to 10. I am 65 years old. I think this wonderful book will appeal to readers all ages.
Yes, E.B. White was Some Writer. Melissa Sweet is a good writer too, and she is Some Illustrator! I am looking forward to reading "The Right Word, Roget and His Thesaurus," written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Other books by E.B. White, including "The Elements of Style," with William Strunk Jr., and "Stuart Little" along with a long overdue reread of "Charlotte's Web", are also calling my name.
I'll end this review with a four-word quote from a poultry primer written by E. B. White years ago. It could be a timeless formula for life for us all:
"Be tidy. Be brave."