OK, down to business:>) This week I’m being a little bit of a tease, but I can’t help it. I just read (in digital form, through NetGalley) my friend Tracy Nelson Maurer’s forthcoming picture book, Noah Webster’s Fighting Words. It’s not out until April of 2017 (from Millbrook Press), and I will remind you about it then. But go mark it To Read on Goodreads right now! Or even pre-order it by clicking on the book cover. Now, here’s my review of this ridiculously good book.
This picture book is fabulous. It’s a wonderful mixture of straight nonfiction (the main text) with a clever, fictional (but well informed by meticulous research) second layer of text–editing by the man himself, Noah Webster. Discover how the first American English dictionary came to be–and why. Think about how the words we use influence the way we think. Get to know Noah’s bossy own self through the very revealing and funny editing marks and comments “by him.” Enjoy lighthearted and delightful collage illustrations that will support your understanding of the text itself. Kids (and, ok, adults) who don’t think they’re interested in history will be surprised.
Here’s an interior spread, courtesy of Lerner.
Excellent backmatter includes an author’s note, an illustrator’s note, a timeline, a selected bibliography, quotation citations, and primary sources used.
Noah Webster’s Fighting Words is an awesome book about Noah Webster. But it’s really about language, independence, justice, self-expression. It’s about why words are so powerful.
[Disclaimer: Review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley. I also know the writer. But I read lots of books by writers I know, and most of them don’t garner this enthusiastic of a response. I would love this book even if written by a total stranger:>) ]