Noah Webster and His Words, by Jeri Chase Ferris

IMG_6899I have always enjoyed word play and now have two avid young readers at home who are working on building their “collections of interesting words”. So, I was delighted to come across Jeri Chase Ferris’s biography of Noah Webster. She has written a number of wonderful picture book biographies, but Noah Webster and His Words is my favorite. Ferris tells the story of Webster, a headstrong and bright little boy, creating a vivid sense of his young personality. She elegantly weaves Webster’s story together with the time period during the American Revolution, and playfully peppers the text with definitions of “interesting” words like “em-bar-rass-ment” and “sur-ren-dered”. Vincent Kirsch’s pen and ink illustrations give it a period feel – and I do love how large he drew brainy Noah’s head. The timeline at the end of the book provides ample extra detail about both American history and Noah’s life. And, the “More about Noah Webster” and Bibliography are also packed full of great information.

Suggested Ages – This is a great book for upper elementary students, particularly those studying the American Revolution. However, it certainly appeals to younger elementary students as well, who will enjoy understanding how the first American dictionary came to be.


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