May 9, 2017

Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 7:44 pm by suebe2

Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White
by Melissa Sweet
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

What does it take to create a classic book like Stuart Little or Charlotte’s Web?  First things first, it takes Some Writer.  In this case, the writer is Elwyn White or, as his family and friends called him, Andy.

Andy grew up in New York state, not far from New York City. He and his family spent large amounts of time each and every summer in Maine.  Because of this, Andy knew both worlds – the hustle and bustle of the city as well as the slower pace of country life, paddling across the lake.  When he has a family of his own, the wanted them to know both worlds too.  He and his wife, Katharine, bought a farm in Maine and it was this farm that became the setting for Charlotte’s Web.

But before Andy wrote Charlotte’s Web, he wrote for adults.  He wrote essays.  He wrote short humorous pieces.  He published in magazines like The New Yorker where he met his wife who was an editor.

Stuart Little became a book because people had been encouraging (bugging) Andy to write for children.  He used to tell his son bed time stories about Stuart Little and decided that maybe people were right.  He should write for children and surely they would love Stuart as much as his son did.

I don’t want to give everything away so I’m not going to tell much more about what happened.  That said, I wasn’t surprised that his young readers loved Stuart.  I was surprised by how badly many adults disliked the book.  It was banned!   And described as frightening.  I kid you not.

Some Writer is an interesting read for anyone who is a fan of White’s work.  It shows how elements of his life appeared in his stories but also how he shaped both his life and is work.  This would definitely be something to read for discussing right after reading Charlotte’s Web or Stuart Little when young readers would have the stories fresh in their minds and be ready to discuss how readers would have reacted differently to some of the story possibilities that never came into being in these two books.

–SueBE

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