Well.. allow me then to tell you what I have learned about Noah Webster who made the first dictionary of the Americas. Noah Webster was a man who was full of opinions, and once he became a teacher he quickly developed the opinion that American Students needed to learn American words and American ways of doing so. AND not being one to count on others to do something about it, set out to do so himself. He wrote the blue-backed speller called " A Grammatical Institute of the English Language.'
In 1789, Noah married Rebecca Greenleaf, they had eight children. They were married for 54 years. He taught in various schools and eventually became a lawyer. He also served as a newspaper editor and a justice of the peace. He was one of the founder of Amherst College.
Noah was an outspoken man who was involved in many causes such as: copyright laws, a strong federal government, universal education, and the abolition of slavery. Words were very important to him throughout his life and he spent years writing his dictionaries. The first "A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language" was published in 1806 and contained about 37,000 words. The second contained 70,000 words and was called "American Dictionary of the English Language". In it he removed excess letters (the "u" from words like colour, and the "K" from the end of music for example) and added particularly American words like skunk and squash.
You can find a timeline of his life by clicking HERE.
It's a fairly wordy picture book with lots of details about Webster's life and habits, and showed his love for his family. It showed how people both liked, hated, and then appreciated Noah Webster at different points throughout his life.
AND BOY OH BOY did we learn a lot about Noah Webster. Got my boy interested in learning more (hence the reason for this post) and it is filled with great illustrations.
"MOM.. why would he have raisins and peppermints ready whenever he had visitors in his office?" was a blurted out question.
I have to mention how I liked the introductory page where they had the alphabet lined up. My lad and I enjoyed chatting about what they looked like and just what the book might be about.
Received: softcover picture book
Title: W is for Webster
Author: Tracey Fern
Illustrator: Boris Kulikov
Publisher: Margaret Ferguson Books
Age Range: 4-8, though my 10 year old was quite intrigued
Reviewed for: Raincoast Books