Unwrapping this timeless classic for you to recall or for you to introduce to your child for the very first time. This book is a must read for all ages. It's 💫💫magic.💫💫
- Author: E.B. White
- Illustrator: Garth Williams
- Genre: Friendship
- Topics: Horses and farm animals
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
- Publication date: October 15, 1952
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 184
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: Newbery Medal and Honors
Unwrapping an excerpt from *commonsensemedia.com
*book review by Matt Berman
*book review by Matt Berman
WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW
Parents need to know that E.B. White's children's classic begins with the main character (a young pig) nearly being slaughtered by a farmer. Wilbur also learns that he's to be eaten for Christmas dinner. When a major character dies, peacefully but alone -- all children (and most adults) will cry. All readers will also be reminded about what it means to be a good friend and be inspired by the book's messages about the power of love. The audiobook is lovingly read by the author.
WHAT'S THE STORY?
When Fern convinces her father not to kill the runt pig of the litter, she names him Wilbur and raises him with a bottle. Soon Wilbur goes to live in her Uncle Homer Zuckerman's barn down the road, where she visits him every day. But when she's not there, Wilbur is lonely -- the sheep, cows, geese, and even the rats don't want to play and be his friend. Then he meets Charlotte, a gray spider whose web is in a corner of the barn door, and they become good friends. But soon after, they learn that Wilbur is to be slaughtered next Christmas to make ham and bacon. So Charlotte hatches a plan to make the Zuckermans want to keep Wilbur around forever.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
One of the all-time great classics of children's literature, this gentle story with its kindly wisdom about friendship and love has survived and prospered even in the digital age. That's because its themes are universal and timeless: It will inspire readers to think about how we should make and keep friends, and how we should treat each other. Though most readers will cry near the end, it's never maudlin or sappy. Indeed, it's New Yorker editor and author E.B. White's avoidance of cuteness, astringent prose, whimsical humor, and matter-of-factness about life-and-death issues that sets Charlette's Web apart from the pack. His heroine is a hairy spider who sucks the blood out of flies, aided by a rat, and they're working to save Wilbur from the reality of every working barn. Kind people can be ugly and sometimes cruel, others can be greedy but helpful, snooty but caring. The world can be harsh but also beautiful and warm. It's a lovely fantasy grounded in reality, and perhaps that's why kids have loved it for so long -- they know when they're being told the truth.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT ...
- Families can talk about the various concepts of friendship presented here. Charlotte obviously gives a lot in this relationship -- what does she get in return? How does Fern and Wilbur's relationship change?
- Charlotte's Web was published in the 1950s and is considered a children's classic. Why do you think it continues to be so popular with readers? What other books have you read that you think are -- or should be -- classics?
Unwrapping some original illustrations by Garth Williams
( in random order)
Backstory of the beloved classic
The novel, which first appeared in 1952 illustrated by Garth Williams, tells the story of a pig named Wilbur living on a farm, his youthful owner, Fern, and his friend Charlotte the spider, who comes up with an innovative way to save Wilbur from becoming a meal. The book won a Newbery Honor and, with White’s other children’s novel “Stuart Little,” won the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal.
White moved to a farm in Brooklin, Maine, now known as the E.B. White House, in 1933 with his wife, and his experiences with the animals there is said to have been the inspiration for the story.
Biographer Michael Sims recalled how the novel’s bittersweet ending, in which Charlotte the spider dies, strongly affected White when he was recording an audio book version of the story.
“He, of course, as anyone does doing an audio book, had to do several takes for various things, just to get it right,” Sims told NPR. “But every time, he broke down when he got to Charlotte's death. And he would do it, and it would mess up… He took 17 takes to get through Charlotte's death without his voice cracking or beginning to cry.”
“Web” began receiving positive reviews as soon as it was released, with writer Eudora Welty writing for The New York Times, “As a piece of work it is just about perfect, and just about magical in the way it is done.”
It was cited as the highest-selling children’s paperback in history as of 2000 by Publisher’s Weekly. It has been adapted twice for film, once as an animated feature in 1973 with “Singing in the Rain" actress Debbie Reynolds voicing Charlotte and as a well-reviewed live-action version that was released in 2006, starring actress Dakota Fanning as Fern with Julia Roberts voicing Charlotte.
E. B. White, the author of such beloved classics as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan, was born in Mount Vernon, New York. He graduated from Cornell University in 1921 and, five or six years later, joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine, then in its infancy. He died on October 1, 1985, and was survived by his son and three grandchildren.
Garth Williams (1912-1996) is the renowned illustrator of almost one hundred books for children, including the beloved Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little by E. B. White, Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban, and the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. He was born in New York City but raised in England. He founded an art school near London and served with the British Red Cross Civilian Defense during World War II. Williams worked as a portrait sculptor, art director, and magazine artist before illustrating his first book, Stuart Little, thus beginning a long and brilliant career illustrating some of the best-known children’s books.
I put hours of work finding the best kid's books to review for you each day. If you enjoy visiting Storywraps and would like to donate something for my time and effort I would greatly appreciate it.
Go to the top of my blog at the right hand corner (below my photo) and please donate what you feel lead to give. The amount you donate and the frequency you donate is totally up to you. I thank you in advance for your support. I love what I do and appreciate any amount that you may give so I can make our community even better. Thanks a million!