A celebration of the life and work of New Yorker writer and children’s-book author E.B. White.
Sweet offers an affectionate tribute to White in a sumptuous volume, focusing especially on his three children’s classics: Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte’s Web (1952), and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970). The whole volume works like a signature Sweet illustration, an inventive and quirky juxtaposition of parts, combining lucid text, gorgeous and intricate watercolor-and-collage illustrations, photographs, excerpts of White’s writings, and ephemera that evoke farm and barn life. Chapters on the children’s books offer fascinating glimpses into the origins of the tales. Not so easy is making William Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style interesting to young readers, but Sweet succeeds brilliantly by employing children’s-book authors Joyce Sidman, Paul Fleischman, and Kate DiCamillo to relate how the guide influenced their own work. This chapter, along with the reproductions of drafts for the opening of Charlotte’s Web and excerpts of White’s own letters and essays woven throughout the text, makes Sweet’s own volume a gem of a guide to writing. Children reading any of White’s books would do well to read Sweet alongside. Like Charlotte, Sweet spins a terrific story.
A masterful biography that will enchant young readers. (author’s note, afterword, timeline, source notes, bibliography, about the art) (Biography. 7-12)