Saturday, January 21, 2017

Noah Webster's Fighting Words - a bookwrap

According to Wikipedia...

Unwrapping...  Noah Webster

Noah Webster, Jr. was an American lexicographer, textbook pioneer, English-language spelling reformer, political writer, editor, and prolific author. He has been called the "Father of American Scholarship and Education". 

Noah Webster Fact Sheet

The name, Webster, means "female weaver."
He went to Yale and was the only one of the Webster's five children to go past grammar school.
Noah and Nathan Hale were at Yale at the same time:  Hale was three years ahead of Noah.
He socialized with Ben Franklin, who was known as quite a lively character.
When he asked his father for money to study law, his father gave him worthless currency. (this makes it sound like his dad didn't care about him!)
Noah loved music and dancing.
He once lived in a house in New Haven that belonged to Benedict Arnold.
Noah and Rebecca had six daughters and two sons.
He was invited to the White House for dinner but was uncomplimentary of this event.

The dictionary took Noah 27 years to compile and was published when he was 70 years old.



"Noah Webster's Fighting Words"

Authored by Tracy Nelson Maurer
Illustrated by Mircea Catusanu

Ages 7-10

Illustrations for you to enjoy...

About the book...

This book is a biography of Noah Webster that kids will truly understand.  Noah Webster was obsessed with letters and words from his babyhood.  He was concerned with reading and writing and sharing his knowledge with others not so inclined.  

He felt that the breakaway by the U.S. from England needed to be punctuated by a revision of all the words that the US implemented that were rooted in the English language.   He took it upon himself  to tackle the monumental task of writing, then publishing "A Grammatical Institute of the English Language", and his spelling book (yes a dry, but necessary) spelling book, became American's first bestseller.  Can you believe it?  

He believed that letters embedded within words that had no sound   should be omitted altogether from that word.  He arranged and deleted letters to simplify spelling so words could be recorded exactly as they sounded:  jail instead of gaol, iz for is, and hed for head.  His claim to fame?  He changed the spelling of more English words than anyone else alive.  

He used his pen as a weapon and wrote essays, speeches, and newspaper articles to defend his work and expound on the activities of his world around him.  When it came to his mission of words and their meanings he was ever feisty and always relentless trying to drive his points home to anyone that would listen.  

Castusanu's illustrations bring so much to the understanding of the story.  Time-period pictures are embellished with period drawings,  newspaper articles, books, and letters - handwritten in Webster's own script.   

I loved the added touch of using Noah himself as the editor of the book. Brilliant. The two dimensional words that were printed on a page needed a voice and they found a very serious and exuberant one in Noah Webster.  He definitely got the word out. Dictionaries in all forms have Webster to thank for their notoriety.  I highly recommend this book.  

Storywraps rating:    5 HUGS!!!!!

About the author...

Tracy Nelson Maurer has published more than 100 titles for children and teens. Tracy holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University and lives with her family near Minneapolis, Minnesota.

About  the illustrator...

Mircea Catusanu was born in Romania and studied painting at the National University of Arts in Bucharest. He now lives and works in New York City as a freelance illustrator and painter, incidental photographer, and occasional author.

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