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NOAH WEBSTER by Pegi Deitz Shea


by Pegi Deitz Shea and illustrated by Monica Vachula

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59078-441-9
Publisher: Boyds Mills

Bringing history to life for young readers is no easy task. Providing a clear outline of events and offering plentiful resources for further study is a good start. Whether young readers will really grasp Webster’s enormous accomplishments remains in question. Webster earned a Master’s degree from Yale; he also studied law and a remarkable number of languages. He wrote textbooks, influenced the development of the new nation, created the first comprehensive dictionary of the American language and worked to improve educational opportunities and practices. Shea’s straightforward text describes Webster’s life from childhood on his parents’ farm through studying, writing and teaching, extensive travel and his long, full family life. She does her best to put his achievements into context and includes quotations from Webster’s own writing. Vachula’s realistic oil paintings likewise endeavor to offer a glimpse of life during Revolutionary times. Ultimately, the sheer breadth of Webster’s life and achievement just can’t be adequately covered in such brisk fashion, making this an intriguing introduction but far from the last word on this innovative thinker. (chronology, bibliography, index) (Picture book/biography. 8-10)