Thursday, July 25, 2013

Noah Webster & His Words - Jeri Chase Ferris

Illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch
Houghton Mifflin Books For Children, 2012
32 pages
Goodreads rating: 4.22
My rating: 5
Endpapers: Dark Brown
Title Page: Lines and "feathered" border, open dictionary with wire-rim glasses (nice model)
Illustrations (all pages have a lined border), simple line drawings, deeply colored - lots of squiggles and lines and hatchings....

1st line: "Noah Webster always kenw he was right, and he never got tired of saying so (even if, sometimes, he wasn't.) He was, he said, "full of CON-FI-DENCE" [noun: belief that one is right] from the very beginning."

Goodreads:  Webster’s American Dictionary is the second most popular book ever printed in English. But who was that Webster? Noah Webster (1758–1843) was a bookish Connecticut farm boy who became obsessed with uniting America through language. He spent twenty years writing two thousand pages to accomplish that, and the first 100 percent American dictionary was published in 1828 when he was seventy years old. This clever, hilariously illustrated account shines a light on early American history and the life of a man who could not rest until he’d achieved his dream. An illustrated chronology of Webster’s life makes this a picture perfect bi-og-ra-phy [noun: a written history of a person's life].

My Goodreads comments:  This is a great biography, focusing on Webster's entire life, not just one portion of it as many children's picture book biographies do.  It is interesting and informative, written in a manner that doesn't talk down to kids and makes Noah seems like a real person, giving insights into his personality (he was an incredible patriot!).  Many words encountered in the book are immediately defined, as in the actual dictionary, which is a nice introduction to young kids and reinforcement for older kids.  I think this excellent biography will be one of my models to help teach my fourth graders how to write a good one themselves.

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