Charlotte's Web
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."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 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.Supports the Common Core State Standards

Charlotte's Web Details

TitleCharlotte's Web
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 1st, 2001
PublisherHarperCollinsPublishers
ISBN0064410935
ISBN-139780064410939
Number of pages184 pages
Rating
GenreClassics, Childrens, Fiction

Charlotte's Web Review

  • Jason Koivu
    August 15, 2010
    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 mak 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!
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  • Melki
    September 7, 2015
    ". . . this lovely world, these precious days . . ."Charlotte, a spiderI 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 h ". . . this lovely world, these precious days . . ."Charlotte, a spiderI 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.
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  • Richard
    September 1, 2012
    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 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 killerThe 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.
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  • David bernardy
    October 8, 2007
    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 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?
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  • Lynda
    January 3, 2014
  • Mark Lawrence
    August 28, 2011
    '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 pap '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 inadvertantly 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*Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes
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  • Deanna
    July 31, 2015
    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 ho 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 easyto 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.
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  • TL
    January 6, 2015
    No words I can say but this book is magical and beautiful and everyone should read it... a truly wonderful tale :) <3
  • Carol
    August 29, 2012
    As I now join the million's of readers who have enjoyed this great book, I realize it truly is a book for ALL ages. Loved every minute of it!
  • Stephanie
    September 5, 2007
    Within 3 minutes of reviewing its Top 100 Novels Written in English List, I knew The Modern Library was irrelevant. That's because it failed to include CHARLOTTE'S WEB. I mean, I realize that children's literature is considered a joke by most intellectuals, but get serious. Anybody who reads this story and fails to recognize its greatness doesn't really like books, in my opinion.Not only does CHARLOTTE'S WEB feature one of the most ingenious plots in all of literature, its prose is breathtaking. Within 3 minutes of reviewing its Top 100 Novels Written in English List, I knew The Modern Library was irrelevant. That's because it failed to include CHARLOTTE'S WEB. I mean, I realize that children's literature is considered a joke by most intellectuals, but get serious. Anybody who reads this story and fails to recognize its greatness doesn't really like books, in my opinion.Not only does CHARLOTTE'S WEB feature one of the most ingenious plots in all of literature, its prose is breathtaking. Notice how White evokes the arrival of winter on the Zuckerman farm in one short paragraph: "The autumn days grew shorter, Lurvy brought the squashes and pumpkins in from the garden and piled them on the barn floor, where they wouldn't get nipped on frosty nights. The maples and birches turned bright colors and the wind shook them and they dropped their leaves one by one to the ground. Under the wild apple trees in the pasture, the little red apples lay thick on the ground, and the sheep gnawed them and the geese gnawed them and foxes came in the night and sniffed them. One evening, just before Christmas, snow began falling. It covered the house and barn and fields and woods. Wilbur had never seen snow before."I mean, what could be more evocative or sensual? And the fact that White does this in such simple language only underscores his reputation as a great writer.If you have fond memories of CHARLOTTE'S WEB from childhood, I urge you to read it again. I wish the folks at The Modern Library had before compiling their list.
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  • Shayantani Das
    January 27, 2012
    It may sound weird but this is the first time I am reading this book. I don’t know how I missed out on it when I was a kid. Maybe it was the Famous 5 or Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. Anyway, if I had read it as a kid I might have mustered some sympathy for Wilbur. Right now though, I am just mad. Such a whinny and annoying crybaby. Met enough people like him in real life. Poor Charlotte! My personnel bitchy nature aside, this book was amazing. A quick read, but it makes an impact. Beautiful lessons It may sound weird but this is the first time I am reading this book. I don’t know how I missed out on it when I was a kid. Maybe it was the Famous 5 or Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. Anyway, if I had read it as a kid I might have mustered some sympathy for Wilbur. Right now though, I am just mad. Such a whinny and annoying crybaby. Met enough people like him in real life. Poor Charlotte! My personnel bitchy nature aside, this book was amazing. A quick read, but it makes an impact. Beautiful lessons on friendship and kindness. My favorite quote:“Why did you do all this for me?" he asked. "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.”At least Wilbur got that right! GO CHARLOTTE!
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  • Natalie Monroe
    February 20, 2012
    How I feel about spiders when I read Charlotte's Web:How I feel about spiders when I see one in my house:But I really do love this book. Charlotte A. Cavatica, you will live on my heart forever.
  • Ash
    August 8, 2011
    I could not stop myself from crying. I literally had tears in my eyes after I finished reading it. Charlotte was such a sweetheart. And Wilbur's innocence made him look cuter.These lines made me breakdown : "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."One of the best stories of friendship I have ever read.Updated:09/28/2012I watched the movie today and it is one of the best movies ever made. I cried like a ba I could not stop myself from crying. I literally had tears in my eyes after I finished reading it. Charlotte was such a sweetheart. And Wilbur's innocence made him look cuter.These lines made me breakdown : "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."One of the best stories of friendship I have ever read.Updated:09/28/2012I watched the movie today and it is one of the best movies ever made. I cried like a baby at the end of the movie. The movie is probably as good as the book is. It entered my all-time favourite movie list.
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  • Ji
    February 22, 2008
    I read this book three times and my opinion of the book has changed each time. The importance of this? Just think how complex and well written a book is if you can take different meanings from a novel at different stages of your life. Here is a mini recap of what I thought each time I read it...4th Grade: Poor piggy! I'm glad he found a nice spider friend. I'm so sad that Charlotte died at the end! But I still hate spiders. 8th Grade: I guess it is a really good outlook on growing up... I didn't I read this book three times and my opinion of the book has changed each time. The importance of this? Just think how complex and well written a book is if you can take different meanings from a novel at different stages of your life. Here is a mini recap of what I thought each time I read it...4th Grade: Poor piggy! I'm glad he found a nice spider friend. I'm so sad that Charlotte died at the end! But I still hate spiders. 8th Grade: I guess it is a really good outlook on growing up... I didn't realize until now how Fern spends less and less time with Wilbur as she grows older until now. Junior in College: ARGH! Why did I ever feel sorry for Wilbur? He's a cry baby! And poor Charlotte, always having to take care of whiny Wilbur. I don't blame Fern at all for not caring about her pet pig. (Unfortunately, my dislike for the annoying pig prevents me from giving it a higher rating. I hear enough whining in life, I don't need to hear it from a pig.)
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  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    October 8, 2011
    An endearing tale from childhood., I grew up watching the animated movie every year. Once I had my daughter, I knew I had to buy this book for her. Now that she's grown, I decided I needed a copy for myself. This book teaches us about love and friendship. It teaches us to celebrate life. These are lessons we are never too old to be reminded of. 2017 Reading Challenge: nonhuman perspective
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  • Cait • A Page with a View
    September 28, 2015
    This was one of my favorite books as a kid and I always felt bad for Charlotte that people saw the spider web that said "some pig" and were instantly impressed with the pig... not the super intelligent spider who could spell. (This might have been the ONLY time I liked spiders). Anyways, I had a weird love for Templeton the rat and still think this entire story is absolutely adorable :)
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  • Theresa
    December 18, 2014
    "Charlotte's Web" is SOME BOOK! A childhood favorite of mine. Brings back wonderful memories for me. A classic! :)
  • Wanda
    September 23, 2014
    ***Wanda’s Summer Carnival of Children’s Literature***I distinctly remember my grade one teacher, Doris Wright, reading Charlotte’s Web to us, a chapter or two per day. I suspect there was some snivelling when we reached the end of the tale.Boy, could I identify with the main human character, Fern. I grew up on a small farm like the ones in the book (without the work horses—we used tractors during my childhood) and it was primarily a hog farm. I was very familiar with how sweet baby pigs are. In ***Wanda’s Summer Carnival of Children’s Literature***I distinctly remember my grade one teacher, Doris Wright, reading Charlotte’s Web to us, a chapter or two per day. I suspect there was some snivelling when we reached the end of the tale.Boy, could I identify with the main human character, Fern. I grew up on a small farm like the ones in the book (without the work horses—we used tractors during my childhood) and it was primarily a hog farm. I was very familiar with how sweet baby pigs are. In fact, when children came to visit, my mom would assemble her camera and some old towels and we would head to the pig barn. She would scoop up a piglet in a towel, hand it to a child, and photograph the proceedings. That cute little round snout on a piglet is irresistible to a child—we have many photos of kids kissing piglets right on the snout! Mostly, however, we didn’t spend much time getting to know the pigs—they would be leaving after they were weaned, sold on to farmers who would raise them to market weight. Not a good idea to get too attached.I also had a spider phobia as a child (which has thankfully subsided as I’ve aged) and I do remember Charlotte being an example that I told myself about, trying to convince myself that spiders were not the horrible creatures that I had imagined them to be.Like Fern, I spend many happy hours in the barn, watching chickens, pigs, cows and horses. In fact, when I was about 3, my uncle gave me some duck eggs and a Bantam hen to incubate them. She hatched four ducklings from the eggs (and was quite distressed when her charges went swimming in mud puddles) and those ducks lived for many years! They would stand and quack at us when we were playing baseball if they wanted to cross the yard for some reason. When we paused the game, the ducks would quickly waddle across, as if they didn’t want to hold up play for very long.Farms have changed so much! Not just horses being replaced by tractors, but the mixed use family farm being lost in favour of large, single purpose farms. Wheat farms, chicken farms, intensive hog farms, cattle feed lots, etc. Fewer children learn to milk cows, gather eggs, and weed gardens. I feel like mine was an idyllic childhood and I’m so glad I grew up when I did.Charlotte’s Web was a great exercise in nostalgia for me, remembering all those wonderful childhood details.
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  • K.D. Absolutely
    December 11, 2009
    One of the best books written for children that I've read so far this year.It has full of lessons that anyone including adults can learn from or at least be reminded of. It has many interesting characters that anyone can relate to. It's about life - the young pig Wilbur learning his life important lessons from the caring spider Charlotte. It's about friendship - Fern taking care of runt Wilbur, Charlotte weaving for Wilbur, rat doing favors for Wilbur and Charlotte, etc. Most importantly, it's a One of the best books written for children that I've read so far this year.It has full of lessons that anyone including adults can learn from or at least be reminded of. It has many interesting characters that anyone can relate to. It's about life - the young pig Wilbur learning his life important lessons from the caring spider Charlotte. It's about friendship - Fern taking care of runt Wilbur, Charlotte weaving for Wilbur, rat doing favors for Wilbur and Charlotte, etc. Most importantly, it's about the passing of time - Charlotte dying at the end of story but leaving to Wilbur her sack of eggs containing her 514 children. It is simply written with illustrations and funny situations. However, if you reflect on each chapter, you would recall actual situations in your life similar to the events in the book. The passing of time message towards the end of the book is particularly heartwarming and will remind you one more time of your immortality and we are all just passing through. It is also not predictable; neither I had heard anything about it nor seen a movie based on the book prior before yesterday. Now, I am glad I picked it up yesterday morning and started reading.Antoine de Saint-Exupery's THE LITTLE PRINCE has just got a worthy companion in the Best Children's Book category in my list. The only thing that makes THE LITTLE PRINCE a star higher is the fact that it has many clever quotes. The only one that I was able to catch from CHARLOTTE'S WEB is this: "Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen" which is not bad at all.Thanks, E. B. WHITE for a good book that children now and in many generations to come will definitely enjoy and pick some lessons from.
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  • Luffy
    September 3, 2015
    Charlotte's Web is a tender children's story with sweet insights about life, growing up, and mortality. It's a privilege to open a book and hear the timber of a gifted writer, whose voice was so simple that one wonders why this book was not hatched decades earlier. The author's voice remains unique enough to be distinctive from the crowds of pretenders that have succeeded him. I think what I've done in my review is describe a classic. Make no mistake, a classic Charlotte's Web is. The fact that Charlotte's Web is a tender children's story with sweet insights about life, growing up, and mortality. It's a privilege to open a book and hear the timber of a gifted writer, whose voice was so simple that one wonders why this book was not hatched decades earlier. The author's voice remains unique enough to be distinctive from the crowds of pretenders that have succeeded him. I think what I've done in my review is describe a classic. Make no mistake, a classic Charlotte's Web is. The fact that I like it, is mildly a catharsis for me.
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  • midnightfaerie
    October 10, 2011
    Charlotte's Web by E.B. White is a classic piece of children's literature I've only recently revisited. My five year-old son and I started reading it together and I was surprised how in to it he was, even though his attention span lagged at some spots such as the extensive descriptives White likes to use. They paint a colorful picture, but there were too many words my son didn't know at once, so it was hard for him to pay attention enough during these parts to expand his vocabulary. Other than t Charlotte's Web by E.B. White is a classic piece of children's literature I've only recently revisited. My five year-old son and I started reading it together and I was surprised how in to it he was, even though his attention span lagged at some spots such as the extensive descriptives White likes to use. They paint a colorful picture, but there were too many words my son didn't know at once, so it was hard for him to pay attention enough during these parts to expand his vocabulary. Other than that, he really enjoyed it. I found a "Reader's Log" book for kids that has them write about the story, the characters, the plot, and review it, telling about how they liked it and why. There's even a place to draw a picture of your favorite scene from the book. What an excellent idea! When I first started reading to my son, it took me a while before I realized he wasn't always retaining the information. That's when I realized I was missing a major point of teaching my son, literary comprehension! And I was amazed to find out that many other children have the same problem. Parents might read to their children, but how much are they comprehending and retaining? Is this why adults in this day and age have such a hard time picking up a classic? Because they have such a hard time understanding it? Now when I read to my kids, I make sure to ask questions. What happened to the spider? Why was Charlotte helping Wilber? Then we write about it and draw pictures. What a difference in his retention rate! Are our schools not doing this? Why then aren't more adults reading books that challenge them more? I'm not saying people have to read War and Peace but how about picking up a non-fiction now and then instead of yet another vampire romance? Or a cookie cutter mystery that could easily be just another made for TV movie? I'm convinced, we need to start with our children. For us, Charlotte's Web was an excellent beginning. The animals held his attention enough so that he became involved with the story. And not only did he learn new words, but we learned a lot about spiders (much I didn't even want to know) that we didn't know before. I think this book is also mature enough for adults to love. White's writing is eloquent enough to keep any aged reader captivated. This book is beloved by many, it deals with many underlying themes from loyalty to death, and it has been around for many years. I believe it also has the magic factor that keeps the reader entranced. For all these reasons, this book is a classic. ClassicsDefined.com
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  • Katherine
    February 13, 2017
    ”’My name,’ said the spider, ‘is Charlotte.’‘Charlotte what?’ asked Wilbur, eagerly.‘Charlotte A. Cavatica. But just call me Charlotte.’” Like many people, I absolutely hate spiders. They’re creepy and crawly and just all around nasty. I can’t even look at a picture of a spider without going into full on panic mode, and if I see one in person all hope is lost for me. I usually stand there like Janet Leigh in Psycho and just wait for a brave, strapping testosterone filled male to come and squish ”’My name,’ said the spider, ‘is Charlotte.’‘Charlotte what?’ asked Wilbur, eagerly.‘Charlotte A. Cavatica. But just call me Charlotte.’” Like many people, I absolutely hate spiders. They’re creepy and crawly and just all around nasty. I can’t even look at a picture of a spider without going into full on panic mode, and if I see one in person all hope is lost for me. I usually stand there like Janet Leigh in Psycho and just wait for a brave, strapping testosterone filled male to come and squish it for me (usually my dad or one of my guy friends). So needless to say, spiders and I don’t get along well.But there’s one spider that I can’t bring myself to hate. In fact, she’s the only spider I will defend to the death. And that spider... is Charlotte.I was in the third grade when I was introduced to Charlotte A. Cavatica. I hated spiders even back then. So when my teacher told us that we were going to read a book about the friendship between a spider and a pig, I pretty much had the same reaction as Wilbur. ”Charlotte is fierce, brutal scheming, bloodthirsty- everything I don’t like. How can I learn to like her?’” How on earth am I going to learn to like a book about a spider? Spiders are ugly! Gross! Disgusting! I don’t know why Noah decided to let them on the ark, but he made a big-ass mistake. I thought that for sure I was going to hate this book because of one stupid spider. And then something magical happened. Charlotte turned out to be... not bad. In fact, I quite liked her. She was funny. She was smart. She was compassionate. She was the kind of friend that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. ”Underneath her bold and cruel exterior, she had a kind heart, and she was to prove loyal and true to the very end.” I began to love Charlotte. I wanted to be friends with her. I wanted her to help Wilbur succeed and escape from his fate of becoming the next Christmas pig to be on the table. Sure, I liked Wilbur and the other characters, and how the descriptions of the country and the farm made me demand to my mom one night that we needed to sell our house so we could move to a farm (her answer was a firm no, BTW). But Charlotte was my favorite part of the novel. Somehow, E.B. White made it so that I actually cared about a creature I disliked so intensely. He made it so that through a story about ordinary farm animals, it allows children young and old to learn the valuable lesson that people shouldn’t be judge by their appearances. Sometimes the scariest looking individuals can have the kindest hearts, if you look closely.And when we finally reached the inevitable conclusion of the novel, I was inconsolable. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would be crying over the loss of a spider. But at this point she had become so precious to me that it not only felt like Wilbur had lost a friend, but I had too. ”’Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘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. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s is life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die.” I can’t give this book anything less than five stars. It’s poignant, it’s brilliant, it’s heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once. This is quite possibly the best children’s novel of all time. And despite the fact that it breaks my heart and makes me cry every single damn time, I still come back to it.But this novel also impacted me in one other way. Ever since I found out that Charlotte was a daddy long legs, I vowed to never kill one again. So whenever I see one as I’m working or just merely working outside, I smile to myself and walk on by. Because in my heart, all of them are Charlotte to me.(view spoiler)[The Story of Arachne and AthenaI always liked this story of how the Greeks explained the origin of the spider. While science may be able to explain most of the natural world, there’s something romantic (and much more interesting) to read about more fanciful explanations told by our ancestors to explain the natural world before science was even invented. So in honor of quite possibly the world’s most beloved spider, here’s the ancient Greek myth of Arachne.:rubs hands together in anticipation:Long ago in Greece, there lived a girl named Arachne (some of you may see the connection already). Unlike most of the girls in her city-state, Arachne had a special talent for weaving. Her tapestries were said to be the most beautiful in all the land, and people literally got off their asses and traveled for miles and miles to see them. These were no ordinary pillow throws and tea cozies, folks We’re talking high quality products! People started saying to her that she was a best weaver the world had ever seen, even better than Athena.:Woah woah, wait Katherine. Athena is the goddess of war. Goddess of war ain’t got time to be sitting on their butts weaving shit, right?:Actually, Athena said to be quite the talented weaver. She was said to weaves tapestry scenes showing all the horrible, terrible things that would happen to folks if they didn’t listen to her or the other gods and goddesses. Kind of like a living storybook, only of the morbid kind. See, even back then woman could have the best of both worlds.Then came the fateful day when Arachne decided to open her mouth and speak the unspeakable. You see, the comments about her being the bees knees of weaving kind of went to her head. And so she turned to her BFFL and said the fateful words...“I wish I could challenge Athena to a weaving contest, as I’m sure I would win.’While I’m sure it was said in jest, Athena wasn’t exactly the joking type. So she heard Arachne say that statement, she became class-A, number one PISSED. Nobody bests the goddess of war!! She’s a goddamn goddess, and Arachne was nothing more than a peasant girl in her eyes. What could possibly go wrong.Note to self: never say you’re better than a religious deity, cause they’ll make your life absolutely miserable proving you wrong in the most spectacular fashion.So, Athena descends from Mount Olympus and disguises herself as an old woman to scope out Arachne and spot her weaknesses. Right away, Arachne throws shade at Athena (not knowing the old woman really IS Athena), and how so much better a weaver she is.Then, after Athena literally can’t take anymore of Arachne’s narcissistic bragging, she throws off her disguise and challenges her to a weaving contest using her best “Come at me bitch” voice. After probably throwing up in her mouth a little and turning fifty shades of red from embarrassment, Arachne accepts Athena’s challenge to a weaving contest (I mean, how can you turn down a triple dog dare, much less a dare you created?) Y’all know where this is going, right?So the contest begins. They weave like there’s no tomorrow, as if a big meteor was going to come down at any moment and strike them both dead. They weave and weave and weave until finally there’s both finished.Athena looked at her tapestry and was feeling pretty peachy because it looked great. It really did. Then she turned her head and saw Arachne’s tapestry.And she completely lost her shit.Not only was Arachne’s tapestry even more beautiful than Athena’s, it showed the gods misbehaving and doing extremely naughty things. The Gods. The seemingly squeaky clean gods who can never do any wrong. Like I said before, Athena becomes enraged with fury. She strikes Arachne on the head three times and fights in her what was quite possibly the first unrecorded version of the Jerry Springer Show in existence. Cause no way in HELL does a mere mortal beat a god in a contest!Instead of being happy about the win, Arachne becomes despondent with guilt about her bragging and ends up committing suicide. Tragic, right? You win a contest and instead of being gleeful you kill yourself. Now Athena saw what was happening and took pity on Arachne (cause even though Athena can me merciless, she was also merciful.) So soon afterwards, Athena turns her into a creature that is known for weaving intricate, talented webs.That creature is the spider, but it’s scientific name.... is arachnid. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Susanna
    November 14, 2008
    In my desperation for a good night's sleep, I jettisoned my Nguigi wa Thiong'o novel (as Em says "is there any great African literature that's not about war or hunger or political corruption?") and, as after Mom's going, delved into some children's books. This was all I remembered it being when I read it at 8 and more.I can't say more than Eudora Welty did:"What the book is about is friendship on earth, affection and protection, adventure and miracle, life and death, trust and treachery, pleasur In my desperation for a good night's sleep, I jettisoned my Nguigi wa Thiong'o novel (as Em says "is there any great African literature that's not about war or hunger or political corruption?") and, as after Mom's going, delved into some children's books. This was all I remembered it being when I read it at 8 and more.I can't say more than Eudora Welty did:"What the book is about is friendship on earth, affection and protection, adventure and miracle, life and death, trust and treachery, pleasure and pain, and the passing of time. As a piece of work it is just about perfect, and just about magical in the way it is done."
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  • Sanjay Gautam
    October 6, 2016
    7/10
  • Mandy Crider
    June 18, 2015
    What a beloved classic! One of my favorites, such a magical story of love and acceptance based on the inside. Charlotte and Wilbur make for an incredible cast along with the other zany characters. Great children's book.
  • Kristine
    June 7, 2010
    {spoilers ahead, but on the other hand, if you've seen the Disney movie, you should be ok}FYI this review will NOT do this book justice. Maybe one day I'll spend a year writing a critical analysis titled "Why I Love Children's Literature" and use this book as its topic. Because it's really that good. I know some people don't get kid's books. But I have really found there to be no lack of word crafting, prose, strong characterization and voice, complexity of plot and presentation, or meaning in c {spoilers ahead, but on the other hand, if you've seen the Disney movie, you should be ok}FYI this review will NOT do this book justice. Maybe one day I'll spend a year writing a critical analysis titled "Why I Love Children's Literature" and use this book as its topic. Because it's really that good. I know some people don't get kid's books. But I have really found there to be no lack of word crafting, prose, strong characterization and voice, complexity of plot and presentation, or meaning in children's literature. There's so much crap out there for adults I actually have an easier time finding good literature in the children's realm. /end rantWow. Reading this as an adult is quite a trip. I read it as a child and didn't remember it. I now see why this book keeps on winning the #1 Best Chapter Book polls year after year. This starts sweet enough with a darling girl Ellie's age adopting a runt-ling pig and just turning it into a sweet little pet that ends up down the road at her uncle's farm. Sweet Fern and Wilbur. And then, it takes a little turns as the main character starts worrying about about his future murder. I glanced over at Ellie to see how she's taking all the murder talk, and we're good. Phew.Throughout reading I'm struck by several things. (1) The complexity of the characters. Wilbur is a simple character, but he really develops. Innocence and loyalty and ultimately devotion in return for sacrifice. The rest of the characters you expect to be sorted into Black and White. Even Charlotte is a bloodsucking killer who ends up sacrificing everything for someone else. If you stop and think about why the author chose a spider for a heroine. What is the human reaction to a spider? Especially for kids. This is a thing you've always thought as a bad thing that needs to be killed. What's the purpose of of a blood-sucking hero in a children's book? Also, you figure if Mr. Zuckerman is planning on slaughtering our dear Wilbur he'd be the stock villain. But he's not. Fern's devotion turns to apathy. Mrs. Arable's hostility turns into admiration. Avery's reactions turn from bullying to pride. Templeton is a lazy, good-for-nothing, gluttonous, selfish rat who actually is the one that helps make Charlotte's miracles possible. (2) Cycles and Nature. Have you ever wanted to live on a farm? After reading this book, you will. The turning season, the new goslings, and croaking frogs. {sigh} Cozy. And the miracles that occur in nature, have you ever thought and pondered how a spider knows how to spin a web without any instructions from anybody? What is a miracle? What deserves wonder from this human experience?(3) Friendship. What does friendship mean? What do friends do? Well, we like each other; and because we like each other we do things for each other. What do friends expect in return? What role does sacrifice play? "Why did you do all this for me?" he asked. "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. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."This book is life and death, joy and sorrow, gain and loss. The writing is exquisite, the plot is pitch perfect, and NOW I know why the book is a classic. Literally amazing. p.s. And I was dying - DYING - when Charlotte dies alone. Tears were shed - many tears were shed. According to Ellie, this book makes "my eyes turn black."
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  • Michael
    April 3, 2009
    Annotation:A young pig's life is saved by a Charlotte, a wise spider. Through Charlotte, the pig learns important lessons about friendship and loss.Review:Perhaps the most striking aspect of E.B. White's 1952 classic Charlotte's Web is abundance of endearing, clearly-drawn characters. White's tale of friendship, altruism and loss rings very true because of how quickly the reader comes to care for and identify with the characters. Despite being written for children, each character has charming an Annotation:A young pig's life is saved by a Charlotte, a wise spider. Through Charlotte, the pig learns important lessons about friendship and loss.Review:Perhaps the most striking aspect of E.B. White's 1952 classic Charlotte's Web is abundance of endearing, clearly-drawn characters. White's tale of friendship, altruism and loss rings very true because of how quickly the reader comes to care for and identify with the characters. Despite being written for children, each character has charming and distinct traits and idiosyncracies. The story is of a young, lonely pig who befriends a wise spider who saves the pig from being slaughtered by weaving kind words about the pig in her web above the pigpen. The themes explored by White, however, are perhaps more important than the plot. Charlotte's Web not only deals with the friendship between the pig and the spider but seriously addresses issues of death, growing up and loneliness in what might be one of a child's initial serious encounters with those ideas. The handling of these serious topics is very powerful, again, because of the closeness the reader feels to the characters as well as the strength of E.B. White's prose. Though the primary audience for this book is children, White is not afraid to throw in the occasional multi-syllabic word or situations that would not be familiar to small children. The book attempts to relate to children but without talking down to them. This is perhaps its greatest success.
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  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    August 30, 2015
    Charlotte's Web, E.B. WhiteCharlotte'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. The novel tells the story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte writes messages praising Wilbur (such as "Some Pig") in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let him live.عنوان: کارتنک شارلو Charlotte's Web, E.B. WhiteCharlotte'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. The novel tells the story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte writes messages praising Wilbur (such as "Some Pig") in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let him live.عنوان: کارتنک شارلوت؛ ئی.بی. وایت؛ مترجم: مهشید امیرشاهی؛ تهران، امیرکبیر، کتابهای جیبی، انتشارات فرانکلین، 1350، در 173 ص، داستانهای نویسندگان روسی قرن 20 مکتاب نخستین بار در سال 1952 میلادی منتشر شده است؛ دخترى به نام فرن، خوکى به نام ویلبر را از مرگ نجات مى‌دهد، اما می‌داند که خوک سرانجام به خاطر گوشتش کشته خواهد شد. ویلبر در مزرعه ى عمو هومر با عنکبوتى به نام شارلوت آشنا مى‌شود. شارلوت با بافتن واژه‌ هایی روى تورهایش که ویلبر را با صفات عجیب و غریب توصیف مى‌کند، او را از مرگى که در انتظارش است، نجات مى‌دهد. ویلبر مردم را از کشتزارها و روستاهاى دور و نزدیک به تماشاى خود مى‌کشاند، و سرانجام در مسابقه‌ ای در بازار مکاره برنده مى‌شود. شارلوت، که نیرویش را با بافتن تورها از دست داده، ...؛
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  • Sean Kennedy
    February 22, 2016
    Contains perhaps one of the saddest passages in literature:Good-bye!" she whispered. Then she summoned all her strength and waved one of her front legs at him.She never moved again. Next day, as the Ferris wheel was being taken apart and the race horses were being loaded into vans and the entertainers were packing up their belongings and driving away in their trailers, Charlotte died. The Fair Grounds were soon deserted. The sheds and buildings were empty and forlorn. The infield was littered wi Contains perhaps one of the saddest passages in literature:Good-bye!" she whispered. Then she summoned all her strength and waved one of her front legs at him.She never moved again. Next day, as the Ferris wheel was being taken apart and the race horses were being loaded into vans and the entertainers were packing up their belongings and driving away in their trailers, Charlotte died. The Fair Grounds were soon deserted. The sheds and buildings were empty and forlorn. The infield was littered with bottles and trash. Nobody, of the hundreds of people that had visited the Fair, knew that a grey spider had played the most important part of all. No one was with her when she died.If that doesn't break your heart, go see the Tin Man. He'll tell you how to resolve your issue.
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  • Joey
    July 9, 2015
    Lo and behold, my young student lent me – although I abhor to do so- this in tatters considering that I am now finicky about book covers. I prefer pristine books to crispy ones since I would love to build my own private library someday where in I would definitely hole up reading the books I would like to keep up with. (Stargazing) Yippie! I can’t wait for it.I rarely get a chance to meet a young student whose taste for books is paralleled with mine. It just so happened that my student came up wi Lo and behold, my young student lent me – although I abhor to do so- this in tatters considering that I am now finicky about book covers. I prefer pristine books to crispy ones since I would love to build my own private library someday where in I would definitely hole up reading the books I would like to keep up with. (Stargazing) Yippie! I can’t wait for it.I rarely get a chance to meet a young student whose taste for books is paralleled with mine. It just so happened that my student came up with this book and offered to lend me first , for she knows that I have not bought my own copy yet. Out of idle curiosity I nodded in excitement since its paperback picture of a cute girl looking up to a spider in its web while holding a pig had drawn my attention many times at children books sections in a book store. Also, I had learned that it is considered as one of the best children books in the world literature. So I did not want to miss this opportunity as long as books could be at my disposal and gratis .As a matter of course, literally, I tend to judge a book cover rather than its content, the first ideas of the story that I deluded myself into were:( a) The pig was the main protagonist of the story.(b) The girl in the picture was Charlotte.(c) The pig was Charlotte’s pet .(d) The story centered around the pig’s heroism just the like in the movie Babe: Pig City by George Miller.Upon reading it, I have shattered all my illusions with this burning sensation of shame.( a) The pig was the main protagonist of the story.Yes, the pig is the main protagonist of the story. His name is Wilbur but there’s one thing I did not give a fiddle’s fart about- the spider. The spider also has a special role as the all rage to the story. She, not a man if you are unconsciously borne upon this male sexism, is Charlotte A. Cavatica.(b) The girl in the picture was Charlotte.Teng! Teng! Teng! ( X-double –minus ) The spider is Charlotte. The girl’s name is Fern Arable. She saved Wilbur from death when her father found out that he is a rant. She begged her father that she pet Wilbur herself.(c) The pig was Charlotte’s pet.Nope. When Wilbur was crestfallen because Fern missed visiting him, Charlotte, the spider, comforted him until they hit it off like best friends.(d.)The story centered around the pig’s heroism just the like in the movie Babe: Pig City by George Miller.Not at all! The highlights of the story are:First: Wilbur knew that he was expected to be killed for ham and bacon before Christmastime.Second: Charlotte would make some miracles to save Wilbur.Third: The natural life-and-death process of Charlotte. Tear-jerker! T_TI was close to giving it 4 stars because I enjoyed reading the first part in which I basked the philosophical discussion between Fern and his father about life.Fern Arable: [John Arable lifts runt from the newborn litter of piglets] Papa! Papa, stop! Don't kill it! It's unfair.Arable: Fern! You will have learn to control yourself!Fern Arable: [crying] Control myself? This is a matter of life and death, and you talk about controlling myself?Arable: Now Fern, I know a lot more about raising pigs than you do. A weakling makes trouble, now run along.Fern Arable: But it's unfair! If I had been very small, would you have killed me?Arable: No, certainly not! A little girl is one thing, a... runty pig is another.Fern Arable: [Sobbing] I don't see any difference! This is the most terrible case of injustice that I ever heard of!Then, I kept turning the next pages so eager and excited to know how Fern is able to bring up Wilbur. But I was disappointed when I found out that Charlotte turned out to be a spider beyond my great expectations. I guess I had this conception that how a spider , definitely whose intelligence is lower than the domestic animals in the barn , could have such a big role, especially in her ability to communicate with others. Probably I am more used to watching TV anime or reading fables which most of the characters involved are intellectually higher than insects such as spiders . Or You’ d rather I said social interaction among animals with different intellectual classification . For example, pigs could interact with another domestic animals like horses, sheep, goats, geese, chickens, cats, dogs, or even mice, but with insects such as spiders and other kind alike is off the center. I have never read nor seen such kind of interaction yet. If I have as the memory serves, I just know that they just take a cameo part.I had expected that the story would go like ,probably , Wilbur would be a Super-Pig doing something heroic granted that the perception of the town people about him was that he is an animal, merely a pig. Uh-oh! I may have gotten this idea from animation movies which the common scene is that an animal does something remarkable such as in Pig City, Beethoven, Dalmatian 101…I may be a little disappointed at the twists and turns of the story, but I can’t deny the fact that it is worth its salt. You can pick some lessons from the philosophical discourses among the characters about LIFE and FRIENDSHIP.No wonder it has received a panoply of different literary awards.On life , I liked : "Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen." Who won’t skip Wilbur’s standing-ovation polemic on an arrogant lamb’s snide that He(Wilbur) is just nothing ?“What do you mean less than nothing? I don't think there is any such thing as less than nothing. Nothing is absolutely the limit of nothingness. It's the lowest you can go. It's the end of the line. How can something be less than nothing? If there were something that was less than nothing, then nothing would not be nothing, it would be something - even though it's just a very little bit of something. But if nothing is nothing, then nothing has nothing that is less than it is.”Howzat? Read it again ! ( laughs)On friendship, I want to remember Charlotte’s lines by heart : “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.”
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