Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Barbara Heckert
Illustrator: Lauren Castillo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
E.B. White is known for his beloved children’s stories. This lyrical picture book tells the story of the man behind them, and how his life events — from befriending a mouse while recovering from an illness as a child, to watching a spider spin in a corner of a barn — gave rise to the books we know and love. The mouse that White first met as a child and later encountered in a dream became Stuart Little, and White’s own farm experiences were the background for Charlotte’s Web.
Lyrically written, Barbara Herckert’s biographical text perfectly captures the simplicity and meaning of E.B. White’s life. Watercolor illustrations give the book a cozy feel while also preserving accuracy of the people, places, and animals they depict. Though Herckert’s elegant word choice means there may be a few words with which children may be unfamiliar, the illustrations serve as excellent scaffolding for these words’ meanings. This book will remind young writers that the best inspiration for their stories may just be the world around them.