Tuesday, October 30, 2012

E.B. White

We have just finished our first term of Kindergarten, and one of the biggest pleasures has been reading E.B. White's work aloud. What a craftsman he was, and what a treasure trove of literature he left, for children and grown-ups. His sentences are so honest and straight forward, full of truthfulness and emotion, but never over-wrought.

First, we read Charlotte's Web, of course.
It's probably his most famous work, and for good reason. We laughed out loud at the goose's stammering, giggled over Templeton's greedy nature, and felt the sorrow of Wilbur's loneliness when Charlotte dies. I highly recommend the book on cd version of this classic, read by Mr. White himself. His voice is wonderful, and his Upstate New York accent seems perfectly suited to his prose.

Next up was The Trumpet of the Swan, which I have no memory of reading as a child, but I must have, because my mother remembers reading it aloud before bed with me.

In either case, we all loved it. The cob, Louis' father, was one of my children's favorite parts of the story. His verbosity had them in stitches, which I found fascinating. They seemed to just know he was being ridiculous. Good writing does that, gets the point (or the joke) across without beating you over the head with it. What a fantastic tale of courage in overcoming obstacles, and of a parent's love for his child.

And now we are finishing up Stuart Little. What a dear little mouse he is.

We've all had lots of fun imagining the world from his perspective. In particular my son enjoyed Stuart's yellow automobile, and we were all anxious for Margalo's safety with the cat in house. 

I'm so glad we decided to read three of Mr. White's most famous books all together, one after the other. It was a little trip back to grad school for me, being able to analyze his writing in different ways, in different books, and the children have been delighted with the stories, begging to read "just one more chapter." We came to the end of each book wishing there were just a little bit more. I know Miss Mason would have loved Mr. White's books, for they certainly are living. 

1 comment:

  1. Pleasures indeed! My two still laugh over the goose's stuttering from Charlotte's Web at least once a week. :)