Sunday, November 13, 2016

Book Review: Some Writer!

E.B. White wrote three stellar children's books: Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan. Each of these books not only sucks a child into the story but also moves that child to feel deeply about the actions in the book. My boys are familiar with all three (although I think we only watched the movie version of Stuart Little). So, this book crossed my hands as an author interested in how another author honed his skills and as a reader interested in the ideas that led to three of my favorite children's books.

Melissa Sweet has done a marvelous job of bringing E.B. White to life in this book. She blends art and words to tell the story of his boyhood, young adult years, and professional life. My son, Sean, read through bits of this book with me and we were astounded at how many dogs E.B. White owned (we counted at least eight in the photos and text). I was most intrigued by the chance to review the many different opening chapters he wrote for Charlotte's Web.

Although most of my opening paragraphs have stuck (all but one book, I think), it is very freeing to know that a master such as E.B. White worked through several different options before landing on the best words. He is quite adamant about the use of words. Every word should count. He also emphasized the importance of writing that expresses your love for life. Sound writing advice. As his obituary recognized, "White had abundantly that most precious and least learnable of writerly gifts - the gift of inspiring affection in the reader."

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