When young Elwyn White lay in bed as a sickly child, a bold house mouse befriended him. When the time came for kindergarten, an anxious Elwyn longed for the farm, where animal friends awaited him at the end of each day. Propelled by his fascination with the outside world, he began to jot down his reflections in a journal. Writing filled him with joy, and words became his world.
Today, Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web are beloved classics of children’s literature, and E. B. White is recognized as one of the finest American writers of all time.
I avidly follow illustrator Lauren Castillo on Instagram, and have been getting glimpses of A Boy, a Mouse and a Spider for months, so imagine my delight when an ARC arrived on my doorstep!
As a child E. B. White’s books were among my all-time favourites. I adored Stuart Little, and sobbed like a baby at the end of Charlotte’s Web. Still, I knew little about the man who created these beloved characters and their worlds.
A Boy, a Mouse and a Spider is a loving introduction to E. B. White, and provides a glimpse into the experiences and inspirations that helped him become one of America’s best loved children’s author.
Barbara Herkert’s elegant text reads like poetry, and portrays White with great warmth and respect. He was a man most at home in the country, surrounded by nature, and who was a natural-born storyteller with words in his bones.
As Herket writes of White,
“He basked in the seasons
the peace of the barn,
the beauty of the world.
His stories capture
the glory of nature
and the comfort of hope.”
Castillo’s final illustrations are as lovely as I had known they would be, and capture the gentle wonders of the country that White obviously loved so very dearly.
The text includes an author’s note that provides more detailed information on the author’s life, which made my love and appreciate this great author even more. Like White, I disliked school pretty much from the first day of kindergarten to the final day of my masters program, and I too have often found solace from my worries in nature. In a world that seems to be moving ever faster, A Boy, a Mouse and a Spider offers a gentle reminder to slow down, and to spend time unplugged and surrounded by living things, not just digital ones.
An elegant, warm and beautiful introduction to a man whose works have touched so many of our lives, A Boy, a Mouse and a Spider is absolutely worth adding to your collection.
A Boy, a Mouse and a Spider
Hardcover, 40 pages
October 24, 2017 : Chronicle Books
Source: Raincoast Books