Children's LiteratureThis is a very readable and thoroughly enjoyable biography of a great American essayist and children's author. There are even a few light-hearted asides such as the title of the first chapter: "Some Writer!" There are frequent references to incidents or feelings in White's life that became subject matter for his stories, including all the farm animals in Charlotte's Web that he first observed on his own farm in New England. Young readers also learn how long it took White to write a story and how often he rewrote or revised it: a part of the writing process that is often anathema to young students. Originally, for example, Charlotte's Web began with a description of the barn where Wilbur the pig lived. "But this was not very exciting, so he opened the book with Fern discovering that a pig was about to be killed." We also learn that the swan's muteness in Trumpet of the Swan may have reflected White's lifelong fear of speaking in public. The small book is thorough and includes numerous photos, covering White's, his long and close marriage to Kay, his hypochondria and even the unpopularity of his books with Anne Carroll Moore, the powerful children's librarian at the New York Public Library. This series that features inventors and creators covers an eclectic mix of people, including Alexander Graham Bell, Ben and Jerry, Joan Salk, Lemony Snicket, Steven Spielberg and the Wright Brothers. Each volume includes an index, glossary and additional resources. 2005, Thomson Gale, Ages 8 to 14.