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W Is For Webster: Noah Webster and his American Dictionary
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W Is For Webster: Noah Webster and his American Dictionary

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  133 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
From an early age, Noah Webster was an odd fellow who liked to talk big and loved learning. He thought America needed its own national language and knew he was just the man to create it. He started with a speller, including everyday words like "scab," "grub," and "mop," and moved on to create a small dictionary. He rode around on a horse, selling his books by hand. Then ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published November 10th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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An entertaining picture book biography about the lexicographer Noah Webster that chronicles his efforts in creating his dictionary. The whimsical text and illustrations gently poke fun of Webster’s oddities while giving a sense of his immense love for words and his commitment to his life’s passion. An accessible and informative overview with an author’s note and resource list at the back.
It's safe to say that most of us grew up relying on Webster's Dictionary to provide the definitions for unfamiliar words as well other interesting information about those words. In fact, I'm not ashamed to admit that I spent many happy days as a youngster browsing through my old dark blue dictionary in search of fascinating facts about words or a synonym or two for some paper or report that I was writing. I never knew much about the man responsible for the largest English dictionary ever ...more
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
I enjoyed this introduction to Noah Webster and his work. It rounds out some of the other picture books on Webster.
Judi Paradis
Oct 26, 2016 Judi Paradis rated it really liked it
Talk about your determined guys! The author does a great job conveying just how convoluted Webster's path was as he strove to create the first true American English dictionary. As you'd hope, the vocabulary in the book is spectacular, and all the carefully chosen words that kids won't know are explained beautifully in asides throughout the text. Webster is portrayed as true nerd, and his struggle is real--socially, financially, and even patriotically (he is just so not going to be a good soldier ...more
Nancy Kotkin
Terrific picture book biography about Noah Webster, of dictionary fame. Conveys passion for a project, dedication to a goal, and perseverance through obstacles.

The illustrations, which incorporate plenty of letters/words and books, enhance the text beautifully. The color palette is just right and there are some unusual perspectives used. The art is some of Boris Kulikov's best work.
Nicole Jones
Oct 18, 2016 Nicole Jones rated it really liked it
fun to read, kind of narrative style, I like how it describes the big words that they use.
Sep 27, 2016 Alice rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-book-awards
4.25 Stars I loved this book. I learned a ton and enjoyed it!! Read at the Clark County Library in Las Vegas!
Noah Webster was not always a popular guy. No, he was an odd fellow from a young age, even called a lunatic and monarch by some, and always “talking big,” saying things like “playing roguish tricks” instead of goofing around. He loved school and learning. His father realized Noah would never succeed as a farmer and sent him off to study at Yale. After a brief stint in the Army during the Revolutionary War, Noah became determined to create an American language, an everyday language with its own ...more
I didn't know a lot of the information shared in this book, the beginnings of this odd man who was so smart that his father mortgaged their meager farm so that Noah could leave home and go to college. He hated school, and wasn't learning as he wished. He kept at it, learning, learning, and began an idea, a book of words, not new, but this time the words would be for America. The story is of a man with a passion, and even with a wife and children (who I guess supported him even when he was not ...more
Annette Vellenga
Jan 01, 2016 Annette Vellenga rated it really liked it
Tracey Fern has written a neat book about Noah Webster. It's called W is for Webster.

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.. wh
Teresa Edmunds
Mar 20, 2016 Teresa Edmunds rated it really liked it
Noah Webster is probably a man you rarely think of, if at all. But the dictionary he painstakingly wrote influences our everyday life. Having very little knowledge about the author of the Webster dictionary, I found this book both informative and easy to read - a perfect combination, especially for younger students. Though Mr. Webster came off as a bit of a know-it-all, I admire his tenacity and sticktoitiveness (I had to use his dictionary to check on the spelling of that word) to see his ...more
Jan 07, 2016 Christina rated it it was amazing
Beautiful picture book biography. Tells how Webster was "an odd fellow," loved to "talk big," had red hair, and loved learning. He went to Yale; published the Blue-Backed Speller, as his first book came to be known, then dictionaries--his biggest effort took 20 years to publish! The art is beautiful, whimsical yet realistic watercolors, with large letters incorporated into the designs, very well-designed. Examples: Webster seated behind a giant book, or the Atlantic Ocean flowing literally into ...more
A picture book biography on the man who is most well-known for creating an American dictionary.

I liked the pacing here. Readers understand from an early age that Webster was attracted to organization. I appreciated that the text acknowledged Webster's character flaws (i.e. his know-it-all ways) in such a fashion that readers are amused and still makes room for them to form a personal opinion.

I liked that the immense amount of work Webster put into his dictionary is highlighted in a way that come
May 22, 2016 Haizelbear rated it really liked it
Shelves: ed-230h
This book tells how Noah Webster created the dictionary that has been adapted and changed into the one we still use today. He was better at academic activities rather than farming, so his dad sent him to Yale. Noah became a teacher, but didn't enjoy it. He got married, and spend more than 20 years working on the creation of his dictionary for the people of the newly founded United States. The illustrations look like they were created with watercolor and ink. I could use this book to teach about ...more
Adam Schuch
Nov 18, 2015 Adam Schuch rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
The illustrations were fun and interesting. The story itself seemed a bit too informational. It seemed like the author’s idea was to make it more accurate than entertaining. I know this isn’t a bad thing but the class needs to be able to sit through the book. I was hooked though because I wanted to know how long it took Webster to finish his dictionary. I learned a lot about the man’s life and how the dictionary came to be. I wish the information was given maybe a bit shorter or more flavor. How ...more
Light hearted narrative kept the story progressing nicely. Interesting artistic style though some pictures may take a bit of explanation to young readers. For example, on one page Webster is digging a whole and it is not readily apparent why. This is him tracing the roots of each word as described in the text. But the roots, which grow up into words, are hard to see at first and it takes special attention to make the connection. This is a case in other pictures, too.
I had no idea Webster was so unpopular his first go 'round, especially since the people who livd in the town I work at were so taken by him they named their town after him after he came through for a visit. His wife must have been amazing, too, to stick with him through his obsession. We're all better off for it, of course, but the unsung heroes behind the great inventors and thinkers are always their families, aren't they?
Interesting and entertaining biography of Noah Webster! I loved the sophisticated vocabulary the author used to describe Webster's thoughts and feelings about things while providing the common words to describe the same thing. For instance - "Everywhere, Noah thought the schools were 'wretched' and the British textbooks being used were 'defective and erroneous.' That was Noah's way of saying they stunk." It would be fun for students to try out that writing strategy!
Rebecca Ann
Jan 02, 2016 Rebecca Ann rated it really liked it
A great nonfiction read for anyone who loves words! I can see this going over well in the classroom, but it might be a little wordy for the average reader (no pun intended). I loved the warm, muted colors and the whimsical illustrations. There is a great little bio in the back with further resources as well!
Jun 19, 2016 Bethe rated it really liked it
Bookaday #20. 4.5 stars. Fascinating info about unsung patriot of early American history - where would our country be without Webster's dictionary? Who doesn't have his dictionary app on their phone? Entertaining illustrations add to the interesting text. Hard to not compare it to The Right Word, a fabulous companion book.
Feb 29, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Great introduction to Webster, with fun details about him: spooking the family cows with his latin recitations being his favorite pastime was amusing; illustrations were pleasantly offbeat, and there is a ton of good info for Biography reports for grade school kids. Nice Author's Note and references to other books on Webster.

Maria Caplin
Feb 27, 2016 Maria Caplin rated it really liked it
As someone who loves words this was an intriguing story to read. I really never knew the story of Webster. The connections with the American Rev. War along with learning about his education. I was disappointed in the illustrations or I would have given it 5/5
Mar 26, 2016 Earl rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
This was so good! I really enjoyed learning about Noah Webster and how determined he was to do what he wanted despite all the obstacles and constantly being disliked. The illustrations were playful. I would say this is a must-have in any school library collection!
Dawn Little
W is for Webster is a nice biography of Noah Webster and his quest to create the American dictionary. It would "ladder" well with Noah Webster and His Words.
Jan 18, 2016 Lynn rated it really liked it
Energetic illustrations and lively text combine to bring the "odd" Noah Webster to life and celebrate his huge contribution to the world. For an older than usual audience 4-7th grades.
Jul 23, 2016 Kristine rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Biography of Noah Webster and his love of words and quest to create the American Dictionary.
Fun Fact: When Noah was studying he took his pulse rate after each new discovery.
Nancy rated it it was amazing
Apr 20, 2016
Christine rated it it was amazing
Jan 05, 2016
Melissa rated it really liked it
Feb 13, 2016
Jennifer Foeller
Jennifer Foeller rated it really liked it
May 27, 2016
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When I started my own family, I began to write stories for children’s magazines. One day, I found myself driving to the library to help my daughter search for her own missing Nancy Drews. I suddenly remembered that long ago day when I told my father that, yes, of course I could write a book. I decided to try. I haven’t stopped since.
I now live in Newton, Massachusetts with my husband Doug, my two
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