A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E. B. White

By: Barbara Herkert

Illustrator: Lauren Castillo

Propelled by his fascination with the outside world, young Elwyn White began to jot down his reflections in a journal.  Writing filled him with joy, and words became his world.

ISBN: 9781627792455

JLG Release: Jan 2018


Sensitive Areas: No sensitive areas

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Book List, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

The lean, carefree verse treads lightly through events in E.B. White’s life and occasionally lingers on rich, imagistic descriptions of the rural rhythms that so inspired him (“Elwyn’s senses sharpened/to the ripe scent of manure,/the creak of harness leather,/the perfect shape of eggs . . . ”). These particular moments shin The lean, carefree verse treads lightly through events in E.B. White’s life and occasionally lingers on rich, imagistic descriptions of the rural rhythms that so inspired him (“Elwyn’s senses sharpened/to the ripe scent of manure,/the creak of harness leather,/the perfect shape of eggs . . . ”). These particular moments shine and could provide useful material for poetry units on writing using the senses. Herkert presents White’s life as relatively untroubled, creating a harmonious feeling that may fill some readers with peace and may lull others to sleep. Castillo’s friendly ink-and-watercolor illustrations also contribute to the sense of cheerful pleasantness. Curiously, while the text does elaborate on how and why White wrote Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web, it makes no mention of The Trumpet of the Swan outside of the author’s note. (The author’s note also provides additional context and information on important dates, details, and awards.) VERDICT Herkert’s poetry is a delight to the senses, though the overall package is on the slight side. A winsome picture book biography to pair with Melissa Sweet’s Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White.—Kate Stadt, Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library, MA

Horn Book

The writer E. B. White is introduced here in spare text and warm images, with a focus on White’s love of nature and animals as well as the creation of his first two children’s books. With just a few sentences on each page, Herkert effectively evokes White’s own prose, filled with sensory detail and phrases that roll off the tongue The writer E. B. White is introduced here in spare text and warm images, with a focus on White’s love of nature and animals as well as the creation of his first two children’s books. With just a few sentences on each page, Herkert effectively evokes White’s own prose, filled with sensory detail and phrases that roll off the tongue: “His ears captured an owl’s query, the breeze’s beckoning, the scuffing of horse hooves.” Castillo’s illustrations mirror the text with natural colors (warm browns predominate) and lively drawings of the young boy growing into the adult writer. One of the most striking illustrations is of the author and his family in a car heading for their new saltwater farm in Maine—it looks to be springtime with bare trees and green fields, alive with possibilities. The book starts with White’s childhood, then moves to brief vignettes of his youth and adulthood, providing brief descriptions of the inspiration for and creation of Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web, and ends with a double-page spread celebrating White’s life and words: “He basked in the seasons, the peace of the barn, the beauty of the world. His stories capture the glory of nature and the comfort of hope.” An author’s note gives a little more context, but for a detailed examination of White’s life, readers will need to go elsewhere (viz. Melissa Sweet’s Some Writer!, rev. 9/16). A gentle reverie on a beloved writer, ideally suited for children first encountering his children’s books as read-alouds. A brief bibliography is appended. monica edinger

Book Details

ISBN

9781627792455

First Release

January 2018

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

Trim Size

10" x 10"

Page Count

40

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.1; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 4.7; Points: 1;

Lexile

Level 770L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Henry Holt

Potentially Sensitive Areas

No sensitive areas

Topics


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