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|Inconvenient alphabet : Ben Franklin & Noah Webster's spelling revolution|
Author: Anderson, Beth
In 1786, Ben Franklin, at age eighty, and Noah Webster, twenty-eight, teamed up. Their goal? Make English easier to read and write. But even for great thinkers, what seems easy can turn out to be hard.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.90
Points: .5 Quiz: 197764
Common Core Standards
Grade 2 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 2.RI Key Ideas & Details
Grade 2 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 2.RI Craft & Structure
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/18)
School Library Journal (07/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/10/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 07/01/2018 Gr 2–4—Anderson builds on readers' familiarity with the American Revolution and Benjamin Franklin to deliver a lively account of how Franklin teamed up with Noah Webster to help create an English spelling system unique to people in the United States. There was much trial and error and many failed ideas around creating a new alphabet, with many of the concepts proposed facing strong criticism and outright rejection by the public. It was not until long after Franklin's death that Webster finally publish his first ever Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. The combination of bold illustrations, humorous anecdotes, and fabulous storytelling makes this true tale anything but boring. It provides a much-needed introduction to the art of spelling and dictionaries while remaining engaging and well paced. Despite discussing wordsmiths from over 200 years ago, Anderson delicately balances Franklin and Webster's dreams with grade-level appropriate vocabulary and readability. VERDICT The potentially dry topic of American English etymology is transformed into a delightful, relatable, and eye-catchingly illustrated tale that will have readers rooting for the success of the dictionary. Most collections will want to consider.—Emily Beasley, Omaha Public Schools - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 08/01/2018 Anyone learning to read and write English, whether as a first or second language, is struck by the inconsistencies involved. Letters make varying sounds. Spellings have rules that must be memorized. What people may not realize, however, is that Benjamin Franklin and Noah Webster teamed up in the early days of the U.S. to try to simplify such matters. Franklin developed a new alphabet with more specific sounds, while Webster advocated eliminating what he considered unnecessary extras, such as silent letters. The illustrations, rendered using a mix of traditional and digital media as well as partially hand-lettered text, depict Franklin and Webster going about their business with large, three-dimensional alphabet letters bobbing around them like excited pets. Demonstrating perseverance, Franklin and Webster did not succeed completely in convincing others to adopt their point of view, but they did simplify some spellings, and Webster's dictionary was instrumental in making the language more consistent. An extensive bibliography and notes section details the work behind the scenes to make the book factual as well as entertaining. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.