|Willa : the story of Willa Cather, an American Writer|
Author: Ehrlich, Amy
A chapter book biography of Willa Cather, an American novelist.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 5.80
Points: .5 Quiz: 186582
Kirkus Reviews (06/15/16)
School Library Journal (08/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (M) (07/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2016 In this chapter-book biography of Willa Cather, elementary-grade readers may be lured by a story initially reminiscent of Laura Ingalls Wilder; Cather was transplanted from the East (in this case, Virginia) to the Midwestern plains (for Cather, Nebraska), and later notably chronicled the experiences of pioneers during white settlement. Wilder’s writing is accessible to younger children, though, while Cather’s work leans toward an older audience, and it’s unlikely that Ehrlich’s intended reader will have encountered Cather’s work. Perceptive kids will glean the basics here-that Cather’s Western sojourn and acquaintances formed the basis of many of her novels, even though her own education and experiences were broader than this interest might suggest. However, there is little explanation of the importance of the literary luminaries she encountered, little investigation of her personal adult life, and little effort to clarify the few relatable childhood anecdotes that offer the most kid-friendly appeal. Minor’s illustrations, some color, some monochromatic sepia-toned, offer stiff, literal images drawn from the text, a timeline extends the list of people Cather met, a bibliography is directed to adult readers, and fifteen thumbnail bios of noted American women writers are appended, of which only Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Louisa May Alcott, and Emily Dickinson may have any appeal for Ehrlich’s readers. EB - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2016 Gr 2–6—Ehrlich pieces together the life story of Willa Cather in this short illustrated biography. The narrative is divided into segments that follow the travels of Cather and her family, beginning in 1877, in her childhood home in Virginia. Brief chapters cover her family's move west to Nebraska and a bit of her adult life in New York City. Cather is shown to be inquisitive and thoughtful; she spent time with pioneer women and read adventure tales. The author stresses Cather's circumstances, her desire to escape her community's shortsighted expectations of girls, and the importance of writing as a passion and an outlet. Ehrlich assumes a familiarity with the subject matter as she describes Cather's life "on the Divide" but does not go into detail about where or what the "Divide" was. Back matter includes a time line of Cather's life and work, as well as short profiles of 15 other women writers who were her contemporaries. Minor's watercolor paintings and drawings give readers an idyllic rendering of the American West and post–Civil War life. VERDICT An accessible biography for elementary students learning about late 19th- and early 20th-century U.S. history.—Annette Herbert, F. E. Smith Elementary School, Cortland, NY - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.