A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E.B. White

illus. by Lauren Castillo. 40p. bibliog. photos. Holt. Oct. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781627792455.
Gr 2–5—The lean, carefree verse treads lightly through events in E.B. White's life and occasionally lingers on rich, imagistic descriptions of the rural rhythms that so inspired him ("Elwyn's senses sharpened/to the ripe scent of manure,/the creak of harness leather,/the perfect shape of eggs…"). These particular moments shine and could provide useful material for poetry units on writing using the senses. Herkert presents White's life as relatively untroubled, creating a harmonious feeling that may fill some readers with peace and may lull others to sleep. Castillo's friendly ink-and-watercolor illustrations also contribute to the sense of cheerful pleasantness. Curiously, while the text does elaborate on how and why White wrote Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web, it makes no mention of The Trumpet of the Swan outside of the author's note. (The author's note also provides additional context and information on important dates, details, and awards.)
VERDICT Herkert's poetry is a delight to the senses, though the overall package is on the slight side. A winsome picture book biography to pair with Melissa Sweet's Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White.

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