This beloved book by E. B. White, author of Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, is a classic of children's literature that is "just about perfect." This high-quality paperback features vibrant illustrations colorized by Rosemary Wells!
Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte's Web, high up in Zuckerman's barn. Charlotte's spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur's life when he was born the runt of his litter.
E. B. White's Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come. This edition contains newly color illustrations by Garth Williams, the acclaimed illustrator of E. B. White's Stuart Little and Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series, among many other books.
Elwyn Brooks White was a leading American essayist, author, humorist, poet and literary stylist and author of such beloved children's classics as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan. He graduated from Cornell University in 1921 and, five or six years later, joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine. He authored over seventeen books of prose and poetry and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1973.
White always said that he found writing difficult and bad for one's disposition.
Mr. White has won countless awards, including the 1971 National Medal for Literature and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, which commended him for making “a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.”
I don't give a fig if it is a kid's book, Charlotte's Web is one of the most well-crafted stories ever written. This classic children's tale deserves 5 stars for story craft and language usage alone! (Read your Strunk & White to understand this man's talents in that regard.) The fact that it's a heart-warmer/wrencher clinches it. Never was I made to love pigs and spiders so much in my life. Charlotte's Web will always rank high amongst my favorites. But why, for the love of god, did they make us watch the cartoon version of this tear-jerker in school? Did they want to make us weep embarrassingly in front of one another? If so, mission accomplished, you sadistic school district!
'pologies to anybody following my reviews in hope of insights into epic fantasy novels - I get through more kids' stuff reading to my little girl (who is too disabled to do it for herself).
Charlotte's Web is a book I've been aware of for nearly 40 years but somehow managed to avoid reading when I was little. We picked it up at the hospice last week and read the first half, then had to buy a copy at Waterstones yesterday to finish it off (59 years in print and it's still selling for £6.99 in paperback!)
The book's a classic for good reason. It delivers an emotional but refreshingly unsentimental story with twists and turns, and inadvertently lets us have a look at rural American life in the late 1940's. In addition to a strong and engaging story E.B White has powerful prose that doesn't confuse a child, but carries more weight than you're likely to see in most children's stories.
There's a circle of life theme going on, the amusing and varied anthropomorphising of various animals, a county show and prizes to be awarded, oh my! But putting a welcome edge on all this is the bald fact that the pig you can see on the cover is balanced on a constant knife edge with people gearing up to reduce him to bacon and ham at every turn. And although there are tender moments in the story, it's never saccharine *slight spoiler* the rat never comes through with a change of heart, the little girl grows up and loses interest in the animals *end slight spoiler*
All in all a fine children's book. Perhaps it I'd read it when I was 7 I'd be giving it 5*
It also contains the saddest line in children's fiction:
If you've never read Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, you are utterly missing out on a classic Newbery Honor award winner. Go to the library now and borrow this book first published in 1952. You shouldn't buy it (unless you have children or are giving it as a present), but choose to embrace the entire experience of being a small child walking through your public library's doors, searching for an amazing book and finding yourself bringing home a tale that will make you cry and fall in love all at the same time. And don't spoil it by watching the cartoon or regular movies made based on the book until you've read it yourself! It's important....
At a quick glance, a little pig arrives on a new farm and is basically going to be entered into a contest to win a prize for the farm owner. But the pig is scared and confused, turning to all sorts of other farm animals for love and guidance at his new home: chickens, mice, birds and of course, Charlotte, the friendly spider. To help save the pig, Charlotte spins webs overnight about the pig's talents in the hopes that he'll be saved from the... sniff sniff... chopping block even if he wins the contest for best pig. But there's so much more going on in this book...
Charlotte is everyone's mother. She's everyone's teacher. She's everyone's friend. As Pollyanna as it will sound, we should all have a Charlotte in our life to help us grow up and mature into terrific, radiant and humble human beings. (I'll avoid calling us "some pig" as the other message she crafts). All the lessons children can learn from this book are important, even the ones about death. I won't spoil it, but despite all the efforts across all the animals and the people in this treasure, someone doesn't make it. It's on the same level as "Bambi" in my opinion when it comes to a must-read for children, even if the harsh realities of life are exposed.
Charlotte’s Web is the story of an unlikely friendship between a runt of a pig named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte. One day, Wilbur hears from one of the farm animals that he is destined to be Christmas dinner. However, one animal is determined to save him, Charlotte. She starts to weave messages into her web about how incredible Wilbur is. Will it be enough to save the pig?
When I was a child, I saw this movie and found it very moving. As an adult, I read this story, and I still think it is very moving, but I have a deeper respect for the symbolism.
Since January, I have been going full tilt with the readalongs so I put a pause on them. And, of course, I am regretting that decision. Because Charlotte’s Web is such a great book for discussion!
First, this book can be interpreted in a variety of ways. For example, Wilbur breaks free from his pen. All of the animals are giving him conflicting information about what he should do (run uphill, run downhill, etc.). While in a state of confusion, Wilbur is lured into his pen by the farmer with a bucket of slop.
This reminded me of counteroffers in the workplace. Your corporation might be perfectly content with you working 24/7 in a dark closet in the back of the building, never to be seen or heard from, and at a low rate of pay. When you finally find another company who will actually treat you decently, your old company tries to lure you back into their fold with a tempting offer. Wilbur’s situation also reminds me of a classic abusive relationship where the person afflicted wants to leave but feels compelled to stay, especially without a clear plan for extraction from the situation.
Second, there are a lot of relationships in this book that give me pause. If you read my review on The Giving Tree, I absolutely hate it. But I love Charlotte’s Web. Maybe because Wilbur loves Charlotte in return? What do you make of Fern? Is Wilbur just a phase to her? Is Templeton really a friend or is he just a hired hand (and that’s all he wants to be)? Are you upset that Wilbur receives all the praise when it is really Charlotte that is extraordinary?
My favorite character: Dr. Dorian. He seems to be the most sensible person of them all.
Third, I love this book because it encourages praise versus complaining. Charlotte spins kind words into her web about Wilbur, and he tries to live up to them. She doesn’t write, “Needs Bath” into her web. Instead, she spins a positive adjective.
What do you think of Charlotte spinning the word, “humble”? Do you think that being humble is a bad thing in this day and age?
Overall, this book is deeply moving, has beautiful illustrations, provides a lot of valuable food for thought, and the action is fast paced.
One of the great tear-jerkers of my long-lost childhood, the unlikely friendship between a spider and a pig makes for wonderful reading and a shared moment of love when reading it to kids. It is tender and teaches the values of constancy and integrity in a light, beautiful prose. A classic and a masterpiece.
A girl named Fern saves a pig named Wilbur from death, but knows that the pig will eventually be killed for its meat. On Uncle Homer's farm, Wilbur meets a spider named Charlotte.
Charlotte saves him from the death that awaits him by weaving words on his nets, which describe Wilbur with strange qualities. Wilbur draws people from farms, and villages near and far, and eventually wins a contest in the cunning market. Charlotte, who lost her strength by weaving nets, ...
Charlotte's Web is a children's novel by American author E. B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams; it was published in October 15, 1952, by Harper & Brothers. It is tender and teaches the values of constancy and integrity in a light, beautiful prose.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی و یکم ماه آگوست سال1972میلادی
عنوان: کارتنک شارلوت؛ نویسنده: ئی.بی وایت؛ مترجم: مهشید امیرشاهی؛ تهران، امیرکبیر، کتابهای جیبی، انتشارات فرانکلین، سال1350، در173ص، چاپ دوم سال1353؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، علمی فرهنگی، سال1383؛ در168ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، علمی فرهنگی، پرنده آبی، سال1395؛ شابک9786004362832؛ داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م
دخترى به نام «فرن»، خوکى به نام «ویلبر» را، از مرگ مىرهاند، اما میداند که خوک، سرانجام برای گوشتش، کشته خواهد شد؛ «ویلبر» در مزرعه ى «عمو هومر»، با عنکبوتى به نام «شارلوت»، آشنا مىگردد، «شارلوت» با بافتن واژه هایی روى تورهایش، که «ویلبر» را با واژه های ناباورانه مىستاید، و او را از مرگى که در انتظارش است، رهایی مىدهد؛ «ویلبر»، مردمان را از کشتزارها، و روستاهاى دور و نزدیک، به تماشاى خویش مىکشاند، و سرانجام در مسابقه ای در بازار مکاره، برنده مىشود؛ «شارلوت»، که نیرویش را با بافتن تورها از دست داده، ...؛
تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 19/10/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 06/08/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
My thoughts in a nutshell Charlotte’s Web is one of my favorite childhood books. I watched it so many times and never got bored with it.
The story is about… Skip over this point if you don't like the sneak peek. A little pig who wants to see the first show and who wants to live instead of becoming sausages.
What impressed me the most 😊 This little story has many important feelings and lesson. It teaches us to respect other living creatures and how to live side by side in peace. It told about humility and explained how important it is to have a great friendship. A friend who does anything to saved her little buddy’s life. A friend who once made a promise and now she will go through fire and water to keep her word.
I’ve become such a sensitive little girl if the story is about an animal’s death. I’m feeling sorry about all of them. In my world, I think they have soul and they are sentinent beings. This book is an amazing classic, and it made me emotional. Haha.
Make a conclusion I gave it 5 stars because it is perfect for me. It has a much valuable lesson and I really appreciate it. I recommend it to everyone who hasn’t read it. Wait a second! Why don’t you read it yet? Go to the library, NOW! Or watch the movie I recommend it too.
Atmosphere collage aka. how did I imagine the book vibes?
Another classic read with the kids! I love reading to them – they enjoy a chapter every evening and it gives us some good, quality family time. Also, it is cool to see them disappointed if we don’t have time to read (sad, but cool that it is so important to them!)
If you don’t remember Charlotte’s Web from your childhood, did you even have a childhood?
While it is dated – even more so now than when I read it as a kid – it is a timeless tale of life, death, and friendship. There are so many amazingly deep facets in this little book written for children. I am pretty sure a group of adults could still have a very deep discussion about the themes, plot points, and characters in this book.
I mentioned that death is a key part of this book. Some may think that could be too much for kids. But I feel like White presented it in the perfect way to show that death and rebirth are a part of life; perfect in a way as to not upset kids and allow them to explore their curiosity on the subject.
If you have never read Charlotte’s Web, you really should!
Update 6/2018: I will boldly assert here that I think this is the greatest children's book ever written, and I am embarking today on my 4th read of this classic. It is my youngest child's turn to discover the joys and sorrows of friendship and of life, as presented by one of my favorite writers, Mr. E. B. White. Rest in peace, Andy, you beautiful man.
Original review: This is quite ridiculous, that I should read this, at 42-years-old, for the third time in my life, and end up blubbering hot tears all over my face and down the front of my shirt.
I can't get over that my youngest, at 5-years-old, sat through the entire book this week, mesmerized by the brilliant and timeless story-telling. She giggled, frequently, at the funny passages, and then she laughed at me, her grown mother, crying a river for the last 40 pages. I honestly cried to the point of being physically incapable of reading out loud.
And then, as Charlotte's babies drifted away shouting "Good-bye! Good-bye! Good-bye!" my daughter's face contorted strangely and the next thing I knew, she was face down on the floor, sobbing uncontrollably.
". . . this lovely world, these precious days . . ." Charlotte, a spider
I always get in the mood for this book when county fair season rolls around. Ah, the midway with it's dizzying rides and scary carny folk. The agriculture buildings featuring prize-winning giant produce and lovingly crafted quilts. And the yummy scents of frying dough competing with the much earthier smells emanating from the livestock tents.
It smelled of hay and it smelled of manure. It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows. It often had a sort of peaceful smell - as though nothing bad could ever happen again in the world.
I always pay a visit to the cows, sheep and pigs temporarily housed there, and try not to think about how many of them are doomed, already auctioned off to local restaurants. With that sad fact in mind, is it any wonder how this fanciful tale can grip the imagination and tug at the heart . . . the story of Zuckerman's Famous Pig - Wilbur, the Pig Who Lived!
The book begins with our hero narrowly avoiding the ax, saved from death by a young girl who promises to raise him. He grows and thrives under her care, but soon he's sentenced to a lonely life in a pen at her uncle's farm. But fret not, for he soon meets Charlotte, a large grey spider with an impeccable vocabulary.
It is truly the beginning of a beautiful and unforgettable friendship.
I know this is a childhood favorite for many readers, but I was introduced to these characters not through the book, but by the 1973 animated film.
Because of this, I will always associate Paul Lynde's memorably snarky voice with Templeton the rat.
"What's in it for meeee?"
I should be ashamed to admit that I didn't read the book until 2011, but I'm not. I think I appreciated it more fully as an aging adult than I would have as a kid. Having lost some friends and both parents, I know how fleeting life can be and how important it is to grab onto every last experience and memory. How strange that it is the wisdom of a spider that reminds us of what matters most in our lives.
No pig ever had truer friends, and he realized that friendship is one of the most satisfying things in the world.
Adding to the joy of the book are the sweet illustrations by Garth Williams.
So thank you, Mr. White, for your most marvelous book. I can think of no other author who could make an arachnophobe like me shed tears over the death of a spider.
My 8 years old self would have loved this book, I had been looking for an excuse to read this book for years and just realised on seeing it this week in a book shop that I didn't need an excuse to read it, I can just pick it up and indulge myself in little animal behaviour and so I enjoyed this beautiful story of a livestock pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte.
This book is so beautifully written and the illustrations in the copy I have just made it that much better. Friendship and love are the central themes of Charlotte's Web, This is a terrific children's book which I think many adults like myself will appreciate the story as well and I am going to hold on to this copy as I hope if the future (long distant future) to take it out again and perhaps read to my grand children.
I seem to have missed out on so many of these great books that I should have read as a child but as the saying goes " better late than never" and so nice to choose one to read every now and then.
I feel like I did something right by picking up this book years after of having it in my to-be-read list!
I picked it up at the right time (as on 11th April 2020) as I have picked up this book at least 4 times before during a span of 2 years.
At first I thought it would be a really short children's fiction with lots of pictures of animals and the family of the little girl on the book cover.
But I got genuinely surprised the way it weaved an unforgettable story of various animals with distinct personalities who live in a barn together sharing the ups and downs of life.
I would say this book is pretty insightful in understanding kids from their perspective as well as some very useful information regarding the animals (Charlotte the spider as one of the main characters which is one of the best nonhuman fictional characters ever, Wilbur the pig which was almost given up for being the weakest at birth, Templeton the rat which is notorious for his catty remarks, the geese family which speaks the truth and provided entertainment during the whole story). The way these characters were written, how bits of information about these animals were interwoven in the story isn't like a chore as it tends to happen in most of children's books. This book is entertaining, this book is fun to read. It is packed with emotions. It ended beautifully!
You won't believe I cried towards the end of the book. The story seems so real. A good book is a good book. No matter for whom it's written for.
I am so glad I read this book finally!
*The story highlights: 📌 Being empathetic towards animals of all kinds
📌 Friendship that is loyal and unforgettable
Here's something about Charlotte the spider from Wilbur the pig:
"She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."
(You would be really lucky to have a friend like this who you would say this to. But even more lucky if you have someone who say this to you.)
📌 Parents who are not overbearing. Parents who has the sense to listen to their kids. Parents who does not behave like know-it-alls and who have the sense to take help when needed.
One of my favorite childhood memories is of reading this book with my mother. I remember how much I giggled at some of the funny situations and cried especially when we read it the first few times. Sobbing into my pillow with my mom rubbing my back I wondered why Charlotte had to die. My mom patiently explaining the gift Charlotte left for Wilbur. Even now I feel a bit of a lump in my throat. It was treasures like this that started my love of books and reading.
I loved it so much I don't know how many times I read it over the years. Such a timeless classic that will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come. It was easy to understand and I loved the illustrations. The characters were so well developed and completely lovable. I wanted to move to a farm right away and have my very own baby pig. So many life lessons...
It was all in there! The meaning of true friendship, love, life's adventures, miracles, death, trust, betrayal, sorrow and the passing of time. Enjoyable to both children and adults I hope everyone reads this book at least once in their lives. Truly a timeless classic.
"Slowly, slowly!" said Charlotte. "Never hurry and never worry!"
Charlotte's Web is one of those books that anyone can enjoy, irrespective of our age. Language might be very simple and plain, but once you picked up this, you will quickly find out that this is probably one of the best stories you have ever read. Author not only brings the readers a lot of fun with this little story, but also has a very subtle way of conveying a few of life lessons. And as for children, I believe, letting them experience such pure perspectives on life will assist them see the world quite differently - in a better way.
"After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die."
I have been familiar with the story for most of my life, but never read it until now.
Wilbur the pig is born a runt, and the farmer decides he must face the axe. Kind-hearted little Fern intercedes and saves him. She cares for the undersized pig, who later goes to a nearby farm. Wilbur's life is nearly idyllic until he discovers the fate that has been woven for him: he will likely be the next Christmas ham. Horrified, he looks desperately for a door of escape. His pleas for help are overhead by a large grey spider who is almost invisible in the doorway. She decides to try to alter the thread by which his destiny is hanging, but will she succeed?
The barnyard animals, while displaying some human characteristics--Charlotte the spider can read and even has a smattering of Latin--behave like the animals they are. The geese are noisy and silly; the rat is sly and greedy; the pig is good-natured and always hungry; the spider, while kindly, is also an opportunistic and bloodthirsty killer
The story is one of friendship, loyalty, and self-sacrifice. While at times it threatens to cross over into a sort of Victorian sentimentality, it never quite does, because the author injects touches of humour and irony into the portrayal of both animal and human characters.
'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
Wilbur is some pig who is Radiant and humble. On the top of that, he could do a mean back flip like the Karate Kid.
But would you believe me if I said that this radiant pig was almost killed..... twice? This is Wilbur's remarkable journey from almost being bacon to a beacon in the community! But this is not just his Journey. It's about Fern, the little girl who saved Wilbur's life when he was just a runt, and it's about Charlotte, a smart and sweet spider who befriends Wilbur.
And Charlotte can spell! It's like she has eaten a spelling bee! *wink wink*
It's a great Children's book. If I were a kid, I would've loved it even more. And as an adult, (well, an almost adult) I loved the descriptions on summer (It was almost as if I could feel my childhood!) and Charlotte's protective instincts towards Wilbur. I was not quite sure about parts focusing on Fern. They seemed a bit off towards the end.
In the end, Charlotte's Web is a story about kindness and love. It's about reaffirming faith in a person's personality and values rather than appearances. And above all, It's about the value of friendship.
This well-known classic kids’ book is all it’s cracked up to be. Charlotte is the nicest, wisest spider you’ll ever meet. Wish I could think of sweet Charlotte the next time I see a creepy crawly spider, but I’m sure the memory of her will go right out the window and I’ll run for my life, as always!
Everyone should read this book. Well, probably every one has. But true confession here: When my teacher read the book to our class over a few weeks, my 8-year-old self daydreamed off every time! Yep, that’s me: the attention span of a shoo-fly! How did I do this, I want to know, since now, reading it more than 60 years later, I was completely captivated.
I guess I wanted to give back what I didn’t allow myself to receive way back when: an amazing, heart-wrenching read! So I read the book to Eliska, the 10-year-old I kid-sit for. She had liked the movie so was up for a read-aloud. I did NOT appreciate it when, half-way into the story, she proudly blurted out the sad ending. The stinker—she knew what she was doing and she just wanted to see my expression—which, of course, was pure shock and dismay. She thought she was hilarious; I wish she had gotten the memo on spoilers.
There’s so much good about this story about two friends: a spider, Charlotte, and a pig, Wilbur. Talking animals, quite a trip. There are stuttering geese; a wise-guy rat. The best part was Charlotte writing in her web, in the hope that she could save Wilbur. I loved the words she chose and how she acquired them. Tickled me to death—so ingenious! A good lesson in the power of words, the power of language. The first thing Charlotte wrote in the web was SOME PIG.
WARNING: The rest of this so-called review is just a true story about the drama (seriously, not important drama) that occurred while I read this book. Proceed if you want, but I won’t be insulted if you ignore it.
While I read, Eliska always does some craft. Once she made rubber-band earrings that could have mutilated my ears, but luckily she warned me, and I removed them the second I left the premises. This time, she decided to give me a tattoo. Oh, she did ask first, as she dangled the tattoo pens in my face. When I hestitated, she assured me that the tattoo would wash right off. I nodded okay, and she went to town on my wrist. I figured the tattoo would be the size of a dime, but as I read about the fate of Charlotte and Wilbur, I saw out of the corner of my eye that it was a multi-colored flower the size of a post-it note. Hm—that thing is BIG! I agained ask if she was sure it would come off. This time her story changed a little. “Oh, in a couple of days, for sure,” she says. What??? It hits me that she has no idea whether it will come off! What have I let her do? Am I nuts? I subdued my freakout and kept my head inside Charlotte’s Web. How my reading voice stayed calm I do not know.
Eliska was done, and I have to say the tattoo was pretty. Next, she started going crazy painting her fingers with mulit-colored stripes. At first I thought they looked cool, but then I started seeing them through a mom’s (her mom’s) eyes and I realized they were pretty ugly—loud and bright brass knuckles, except they didn’t cover just the knuckles. Every square inch of her fingers was soaked in marker pen. It suddenly occurred to me that maybe mom would not appreciate the fact that I let her kid write all over her hands. Maybe I was in deep doo-doo. I started getting antsy and I asked Eliska, “Are you SURE these wash off?” She promptly went and washed off one finger and returned. Huge blue spots like bruises were what remained. It looked like she had USED the brass knuckles, for crying out loud. She giggled nervously as I gasped. “Well, if you scrub it with one of those hard brushes that you wash dirty nails with, more will come off,” she said. Like this would reassure me. We all know those brushes are nasty! Scrubbing my old wrist might scrub off the skin for all I know. We’re talking pain. And where to find such a brush in the first place? I don’t have one lying around.
Freakout time! At this point I was more worried about Eliska’s painted fingers than my tattoo. What if her mom was furious? What kind of babysitter lets a kid drench her skin with ink? Maybe Eliska liked this new look so much that she’ll become a badass when she’s 18 and cover her body in tattoos. Her mom will blame me for sure—the babysitter with no sense, the babysitter who was too busy reading Charlotte’s Web to notice the kid ruining her soft, clear skin with ugly ink.
Aha moment: maybe I should have had Eliksa draw graffiti on me that said, SOME BABYSITTER. Maybe instead of her mom being mad at me for letting Eliska loose with tattoo pens, she’d be impressed. Just like the world was impressed that Charlotte had written SOME PIG and it had saved Wilbur’s life.
Yep, maybe a SOME BABYSITTER tattoo would save my job. I threw the idea out to Eliska, who was in the middle of deciding whether her next finger should have three or four stripes. She thought I was nuts—what was wrong with the beautiful flower she painted? Writing words wouldn’t be any fun! And come to think of it, it depends on how you interpret SOME BABYSITTER anyway. If you emphasize the “some,” you could mean “that was SOME babysitter, alright. She was a humdinger!” (i.e., bad). So maybe it was best that I didn’t steal Charlotte’s idea after all.
It was the dad who came home and I didn’t see him notice Eliska’s hands. You better believe I was glad that it wasn’t mom who walked in that door. But I never heard a word about it. No news is good news. Eliska must have had an easier time removing the ink than I had thought.
What about my tattoo? When I got home, I looked at it a lot but I didn’t try to remove it right away. I was afraid that if I did, I’d have a blue blob, like Eliska’s painted finger. I was trying to ignore it so that I’d chill. It didn’t help when my husband glanced at my arm and said, “What? You got a TATTOO?” No way I could pretend it never happened. I told him the story, adding, “It will wash right off,” though I didn’t for a second believe it. He was so excited, he took pictures and sent it out to our daughters, “Look, mom got a tattoo!” It horrified me that it looked that real. If the tattoo looks so real, does that mean it’s permanent? I kept telling myself that there was no way that Eliska’s mom would allow her to have permanent markers in the house, no way.
I fretted—should I wait a few days before I tried to wash it off? No, that would be torture. I needed to know now. So after a few hours, I tried. And damn if the tattoo, the beautiful tattoo, didn’t disappear—completely. No scrubbing necessary, and no blue blob in sight.
You know, I’ll always think of the tattoo whenever I think about Charlotte’s Web. That was some book. Wilbur was some pig. I was some babysitter.
I grew up without reading this book. For some, that seems to be unimaginable. I can maybe understand why. My wife and I are reading it now, or I should say, I am reading it aloud before bed, and it's really wonderful. I could totally see why it would be a kind of life-formative book. I was reading a passage last night and laughing at it (there is so much in here that is really funny), and it made me wonder about the level of the humor. That is, would the kid me have thought this was funny or is it my adult self? And I think probably the kid would have. This is all to say that reading it now, as an adult, it gives me an appreciation for kids' minds, and kids' books that take them seriously, even in their humor. I hope that all makes sense. I'm a late comer to the Harry Potter books, too, but was really delighted by them in some of the same ways.
But--to get back to "Charlotte's Web"--there's a section about the end of summer, a couple chapters away from their Fair trip. White makes this lovely kind of song about the end of the season and the coming of Fall and the kind of beauty and dread and tinged sadness of it all. My god, it was affecting. That's something that I probably would not have picked up on as a kid, but I think that has more to do with kid-me than with most kids. I know my wife remembered that part distinctly, in fact it is one of the reasons we went back to this book now. We have recently moved from Minnesota, our home for about four years, and Fair Time there just passed. We really experienced the sort of sad beauty of summer's end there. In our new place in Chapel Hill it hasn't happened quite yet. It is still hot and very dry from drought, so I don't know if there will be that kind of fading moment or not. We'll have to see.
Anyhow, when a book for kids (whatever--for all of us) can make you laugh and cry and think about the beautiful sadness of death--then, damn, what can you do but ramble?
I have been listening to or reading Charlotte's Web since 1983. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Bunting, read this magical book to our class, and I can vividly remember sitting on my carpet square, entranced. Her reading that book to our class was the highlight of each day. Later that year, there was a movie in the theaters, and we went to see it as a class field trip. From my memory, everyone in class was excited about the book and the movie. This was book was that important in the lives of early readers.
I also remember the book fair that school year, and my mom allowed me to buy one book (and bookmark- these were the days of unicorns and rainbows, and my first bookmark had both. 🦄 🌈 ). I'm sure you can guess what my purchase was. My copy of Charlotte's Web was read more times than I could ever possibly keep track, and as some of my book friends know, even at age 6, I worked hard to keep that well-loved book in pristine condition. 😉 We still have my copy somewhere, and I'm on a mission to find it.
All of that to say, when Audible had a sale recently on the audio read by E.B. White in the 1970s, I quickly bought it. You know an audio is good when you are instantly ready to listen to it again. There is nothing better than the author of THE perfect book reading his own perfect words. So much love and connection in his voice, tone, and inflection. Some books are full of magic that lives in your heart forever, and Charlotte's Web is certainly in mine.
May I say that this book is one of the most tender and cute my daughter and I ever read. Yes, she is 10 years old and we still love to read together just before bedtime. We really appreciated this precious friendship between Charlotte and Philbert the pig as the way they respect each other and got joyful for the small little events and things they encountered during the days.... Charlotte way of being a mom, friend and then a guide to Philbert was really lovely and emotional. The legacy Charlotte's will leave to her friend pig are new lives to protect at any cost in order to protect Charlotte's legacy and memory. too. We really loved the description of the farm's life and how all the other animals interact between each others.