Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Noah Webster: Weaver of words

Noah Webster: Weaver of words

Pegi Deitz Shea
Illustrator:  Monica Vachula 
Non Fiction Picture Book
For ages 8 to 12
Boyds Mills Press, 2009   ISBN: 1590784413

Today we tend to take education, books, and even words themselves for granted. There was a time when many people could not read and when schools were grim places. Books were hard to find and expensive, corporal punishment in schools was commonplace, and it was considered a waste to educate girls. Furthermore, school teachers were not trained to be teachers at all. It was thought that anyone who could read could teach.

Luckily for Americans, Noah Webster had different ideas about education. He thought that every American should have access to a decent education. He believed that learning should be enjoyable and not a trial, and to this end he wrote a speller that made it easier for people of all ages to learn how to read. In his speller he included the writings of famous authors from around the world. Millions of copies of the speller sold, and the book proved to be a excellent teaching tool.

Today Noah Webster is best remembered as the person who wrote the first American Dictionary of the English Language. His dictionary was a huge success, and it set a standard that is still observed by book publishers today.

As they read this book, young (and also not so young) readers will learn about a man who did indeed “serve your generation and do good in the world” as per his father’s wish. The author helps us understand what this man was like and to appreciate that Noah Webster’s work is still affecting us today.

Monica Vachla’s beautiful and detailed illustrations perfectly compliment the text.