What a sweet book! Charlotte’s Web was originally published in 1952 when I was three months old. The following year it was named a Newbery honor book. The winner that year is rarely spoken of these days but Charlotte’s Web earned an enduring place in our hearts.
Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White
The book starts off in the kitchen of the Arable family. Eight-year-old Fern saves a baby pig and names him Wilbur. He becomes her beloved pet but her parents won’t let her keep him. The point of view abruptly changes on page 16 from Fern to Wilbur so suddenly we have a talking pig, a barnyard full of other talking animals and a little talking spider named Charlotte. Charlotte of course has a web.
My experience of reading Charlotte’s Web
I took a children’s literature class in college (Shasta College, Redding, CA) and this was required reading. This was back in the early 1970’s.
When I first read Charlotte’s Web I was disturbed when the little girl in the first chapter was named Fern. I kept thinking, “Who is Charlotte if the main character is named Fern?” Eventually I learned that Charlotte was a spider, which makes sense because who else would have a web? Remember, this was back in the early 1970’s long before there was a world wide web called the internet.
I read Charlotte’s Web again in 2021. I rarely reread a book so this is one of only a few books that made it that far in my life. I was pleasantly surprised at how well-written the book is. It holds its charm even after nearly 70 years.
Would a child like it?
Oh yes! A child would like this novel – in fact, many thousands, if not millions, have read it with great delight. I wish I’d read it when I was a child, but it never happened.
Is it worth buying?
This book has been printed so many times it is not unusual to purchase used copies sold at second hand bookstores or yard sales. In case that doesn’t happen for you, there’s always the library. Surely they have Charlotte’s Web on hand.
If you really want a copy of your own, I don’t blame you. I collect books from the Newbery list – both winners and honor books – and am happy to have a new printing. I love this book and believe it would be a precious addition to any home library.
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