Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Noah Webster's Fighting Words by Tracy Nelson Maurer & illustrated by Mircea Catusanu

ISBN: 9781467794107
Hardcover $19.99
Grade Level 2 - 5
My thoughts:  Introducing young readers to real people in picture book biographies is a fabulous way for them to begin learning about those who shaped the world. It is also a wonderful method to introduce and encourage reading of non-fiction works to young readers.

Most Americans have used a Webster's Dictionary at one time or another but few have the slightest clue as to how a dictionary was compiled, when, and by whom. In Noah Webster's Fighting Words the story begins with America's path toward shaping American English as we know and define it.

The story reveals the feisty nature of Noah Webster and how he pushed hard to establish verbiage that was uniquely American in sound interpretation and spelling.

Illustrations that will surely capture the attention of the most reluctant reader add interest and direction to the text that is factual yet with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor that keeps it lively and entertaining. This story gives a glimpse into an individual that was somewhat weird, hard to get along with, and contrary and yet who was a valuable contributor to American English language development.
The pages at the end of the book include author's note and illustrator's note as well as a fantastic timeline. This book would make a great addition to libraries everywhere and of every type.

About the book: Noah Webster, famous for writing the first dictionary of the English language as spoken in the United States, was known in his day for his bold ideas and strong opinions about, well, everything. Spelling, politics, laws, you name it he had something to say about it. He even commented on his own opinions! With a red pencil in hand, Noah often marked up work that he had already published. So who edited this book? It certainly looks like the ghost of the great American author and patriot picked up a pencil once again to comment on his own biography!

Author/Illustrator Information

Author Tracy Nelson Maurer has published more than 100 titles for children and young adults, including many nonfiction books for schools and libraries. Tracy holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University and lives with her family near Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Illustrator Mircea Catusanu was born in Romania and studied painting at the National University of Arts in Bucharest. He now lives and works in New York City as a freelance illustrator and painter, incidental photographer, and occasional author.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Lerner Books to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.


  1. That is so cool! I want that book for me! I guess I'm never too old for a picture book. ;) Real people / true stories are so inspiring! Visiting from Booknificent Thursdays.

  2. I absolutely love picture book biographies, I think they're a really fantastic way to help kids connect with history, and to really bring events and figures to life! I'm also a bit of a word nerd myself, so I definitely like the look of this one, good old Webster. :-)

  3. Thanks for the kind words! Noah thanks you too (he's polite like that). :-)


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