E. B. White Boxed Set: Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, & The Trumpet of the Swan

Overview

Includes three of the best loved classics in children's literature. Charlotte's Web is a Newberry Award-winning story of one fine swine and a spider named Charlotte who changed his life forever. The Trumpet of the Swan is the joyous tale of Louis, a trumpeter swan in search of his voice. Stuart Little is the story of a most unusual mouse that sets out on the adventure of a lifetime.
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1972 Hard cover New in fine dust jacket. As new condition book with limited shelf ware Sewn binding. Paper over boards. Audience: Children/juvenile.

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Overview

Includes three of the best loved classics in children's literature. Charlotte's Web is a Newberry Award-winning story of one fine swine and a spider named Charlotte who changed his life forever. The Trumpet of the Swan is the joyous tale of Louis, a trumpeter swan in search of his voice. Stuart Little is the story of a most unusual mouse that sets out on the adventure of a lifetime.
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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
Elwyn Brooks White was born on July 11, 1899, in Mount Vernon, New York. The youngest child in a large family, Elwyn was a shy boy. He was most comfortable among the pigeons, snakes, geese, pollywogs, rabbits, spiders, lizards, caterpillars, mice, and other wild creatures that lived in the stable behind his home, and in the fields and by the Great Pond in Maine where he summered every August with his family.

These were the creatures that would color his fiction in future years and the happy settings that would inspire his children's books. Although it would be half a lifetime before White would finally pen the works that gave him the most satisfaction, he was nonetheless a prolific writer, recording his thoughts every day in a journal from the time he was eight, winning awards in grade school for his essays, publishing at college in the Cornell Daily Sun, and coauthoring with professor William Strunk Jr. the classic The Elements of Style.

But it was his tenure at The New Yorker that first brought E. B. White to the attention of the reading public. Together with publisher Harold Ross, James Thurber, and editor and future wife Katharine Angell, White set the editorial tone for the magazine with his satirical observations on New York City life in particular and public life in general. When he left The New Yorker for Harper's magazine, where his popular column, "One Man's Meat," attracted an even larger audience, White was at the height of his professional success as a humorist.

Perhaps it was the child in White that resented a humdrum desk job andlongedfor freedom. Whatever the reason, he took a vacation from magazine writing and turned his attention to a small, well-dressed mouse of a character that had come to him in a dream (while traveling by train through the Shenandoah Valley). White jotted down some notes about the mouse-child who had visited him in his sleep, and it was to these notes that he returned in 1944, eager to resume the adventures that he had been spinning out for his nieces and nephews over the years.

White called the character Stuart Little, but the only thing small about this hero was his size. Although he was just two inches tall, Stuart was a helpful child, climbing down the drain to retrieve his mother's wedding ring; a bold child, riding a Fifth Avenue bus with aplomb; and above all, a courageous child whose greatest adventure comes when he leaves home — certain he is headed in the right direction — in search of a beautiful little bird that has won his heart.

For White, Stuart Little proved to be the right direction. Reviews were good, and royalty checks were steady. And so, some five years later, White retired to his Maine farm, where he began preliminary sketches on Charlotte's Web. Once again, White drew from his own experiences, setting his story in a barn exactly like his own, recalling the remorse he felt as he fatted his own pigs for slaughter, wishing all the while that the pigs could be spared.

White's wish came true with Charlotte's Web, the story of a pig named Wilbur who is saved by a loyal and clever spider named Charlotte. The heroine of the story was a large Aranea cavatica spider that really did live in the back of White's barn. As White fed his pigs and watched the spider spin her egg sac and deposit her eggs, the story that was to become Charlotte's Web was born.

It wasn't until 1968 that White settled down to complete his third children's book, The Trumpet of the Swan. This story of a trumpeter swan born without a voice who attracts fame, fortune, and the swan of his dreams with a trumpet given to him by his father was again derived from White's lifelong memories: watching a loon tend her nest; traveling through the sweetgrass country of Montana; spending time at a wilderness camp in Ontario, Canada. White was 70 when he completed his last book for children, but he retained his love for the natural world and his boyish spirit well into his 80s. For by conjuring up the adventures of his youth and immortalizing the wild creatures he so loved, he gave readers of all ages an indelible portrait of a wonderful world that would remain, like the best children's literature, forever young.

Beth Slone Gruber

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060263997
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/1972
  • Edition description: Boxed Set
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.83 (w) x 8.53 (h) x 2.57 (d)

Meet the Author

E. B. White, the author of such beloved classics as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan, was born in Mount Vernon, New York. He graduated from Cornell University in 1921 and, five or six years later, joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine, then in its infancy. He died on October 1, 1985, and was survived by his son and three grandchildren.

Mr. White's essays have appeared in Harper's magazine, and some of his other books are: One Man's Meat, The Second Tree from the Corner, Letters of E. B. White, Essays of E. B. White, and Poems and Sketches of E. B. White. He won countless awards, including the 1971 National Medal for Literature and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, which commended him for making a "substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children."

During his lifetime, many young readers asked Mr. White if his stories were true. In a letter written to be sent to his fans, he answered, "No, they are imaginary tales . . . But real life is only one kind of life—there is also the life of the imagination."

Biography

"Style is even more important in children's books than in those for adults,” said the New York Times reviewer of Stuart Little, E.B. White's first book for children, in 1954. White -- an essayist whose elegant, deceptively simple writings for Harper's and The New Yorker had garnered him national acclaim -- may have seemed an unlikely children’s book author, but Stuart Little proved that good writing (and style) could translate to any genre, even to books for readers too young to enjoy his Talk of the Town pieces.

White had in fact been writing ever since he was a child, growing up in the "leafy suburbs" of Mount Vernon, New York. "I fell in love with the sound of an early typewriter and have been stuck with it ever since," he said later. After graduating from Cornell University in 1921, he tried to turn his facility with words into some form of gainful employment, but found advertising too dull and news reporting too taxing. Finally the Seattle Times asked him to create a small daily column of brief anecdotes and light verse, and White joined Mark Twain in the pantheon of American newspaper humorists.

In 1926, a fledgling publication called The New Yorker offered him a job on its staff. There, he helped create the signature style of clear, elegant writing with which the magazine would thereafter be associated. In New York he befriended writers like James Thurber and Dorothy Parker, and met the woman who was to become his wife, the literary editor Katharine Sergeant Angell.

White's second literary career, as a writer of children's books, had its origins in a dream of a little boy like a mouse, "all complete, with his hat, his cane, and his brisk manner." He began to make up stories about this dapper character to please his nephews and nieces, and eventually organized the Stuart Little stories into a book, which was published to high acclaim in 1945, and made into a feature film in 1999.

The barn of White's farmhouse in Maine provided the inspiration for a second children's book, Charlotte's Web (1952). This fable about a heroic spider and her efforts to save a pig from slaughter was even more successful than Stuart Little. "As a piece of work it is just about perfect," wrote Eudora Welty in The New York Times, and millions of readers agreed. Charlotte's Web was still high on the bestseller lists in 1970, when it was joined by White's third and final book for children, The Trumpet of the Swan.

White produced another bestseller in 1959, when he revised and expanded a little handbook of grammar and usage written by his late teacher at Cornell, William Strunk, Jr. Now familiar to generations of college students as Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, the book made a wise and witty case for what White called "clearness, accuracy and brevity in the use of English."

White's assessment of his own writing was a characteristic mix of humility and grandeur: "All that I ever hope to say in books is that I love the world. I guess you can find that in there, if you dig around."

Good To Know

Galleys of Stuart Little were sent to Anne Carroll Moore, who was head of children's books at the New York Public Library. Moore hated it. "To her it was nonaffirmative, inconclusive, unfit for children, and she felt it would harm its author if published," said White's editor, Ursula Nordstrom. She fired off a letter to White’s wife, and then made her case to Nordstrom -- who went ahead and published anyway.

After Stuart Little was released, White received a great deal of praise for the book, as well as some unusual criticism: "Then three fellows turned up claiming that their name was Stuart Little, and what was I going to do about that?" he wrote. "One of them told me he had begun work on a children's story: The hero was a rat and the rat's name was E. B. White."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Elwyn Brooks White (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 11, 1899
    2. Place of Birth:
      Mount Vernon, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      October 1, 1985
    2. Place of Death:
      North Brooklin, Maine

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2001

    EB White....The Magic Maker for all ages

    EB White was an amazing author. I am 21 now, and ever since i was a little girl, i have read his books over and over again. His most powerful i think was Charlottes Web. The barn in the book was an actual barn from his home in Maine. And Maine is my dream place to live. EB White was a magical man who made many children happy, and also adults too. His memory will live forever in my heart!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2000

    WHAT GREAT BOOKS!

    i'm glad to see three of my favorite books in one box!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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