Enormous Smallness: a story of E. E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess, illustrations by Kris Di Giacomo

Published by Enchanted Lion Books 

Summary: Starting with his somewhat enchanted childhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts (complete with happy family, summers on a New Hampshire farm, and a large tree house heated by a wood stove), this book recounts the life of Edward Estlin Cummings. Estlin was both a poet and an artist.  From an early age, he loved spending time drawing and playing with words, and he continued with both activities for his entire life.  This book emphasizes how he responded to life with his creativity, experimenting with words and poetic forms to express what he experienced as he moved from his home in Cambridge, to Harvard, to France, where he drove an ambulance during World War I, and to 4 Patchin Place in Greenwich Village, his home for much of his adult life.  End matter includes a chronology, several poems, and an author’s note.  Grades 2-5.

Pros:  This book captures the joy E. E. Cummings experienced through his creativity, both in the writing and the illustrations, in which Estlin is consistently portrayed with a smile on his face.  The poems are well-selected to appeal to young readers.

Cons:  Despite their brevity, the poems of E. E. Cummings could be a bit difficult for elementary readers.

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