Some book! A tribute to E.B. White, as seen through the eyes of Melissa Sweet

When the Long Island Community Library reopened on April 3rd, I was eager to wander over to browse the shelves, as I was in search of a non-fiction book to round out my weekend reading. Nothing too long or deep, as I had a book on hold for me at the Portland Public Library, but something enjoyable and light. I perused the regular non-fiction and biographies without success, and then wandered over to the classics and Maine books. There, at the end of the shelving, I found “Some writer! the story of E. B. White” beautifully written and illustrated by Maine illustrator, Melissa Sweet. I happily checked it out, tucked it under my arm, and strolled home. Wow, what a book! I knew just a tiny bit about E. B. White, but this lovely book really filled in the gaps. Charming and whimsical, I fell in love with the book and the illustrations. And her wonderful use of archival documents, such as letters and photographs, brought joy to this archivist’s heart.

Maine is proud to claim E. B. White as a Maine author, as he and his wife and son moved to Maine from New York City as soon as they could (early in their ability to “work from home”). E. B. and Katherine met at the New Yorker, E. B. White became known as the author of such wonderful children’s books as Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan.

In this month of April, which is National Poetry Month, I offer to you this poem by E. B. White, which may remind us of a certain famous spider:

Natural History

The spider, dropping down from twig,

Unwinds a thread of her devising:

A thin, premeditated rig

To use in rising.

And all the journey down through space,

In cool descent, and loyal-hearted,

She builds a ladder to the place

From which she started.

Thus I, gone forth, as spiders do,

In spider’s web a truth discerning,

Attach one silken strand to you

For my returning