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Charlotte's Web (1952)

by E. B. White

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
27,01791376 (4.21)574
Wilbur, the pig, is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmer's Christmas dinner until his spider friend, Charlotte, decides to help him.
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» See also 574 mentions

English (909)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (911)
Showing 1-5 of 909 (next | show all)
Lovely, perfect, spectacular. Rereading it, I remembered what broke my heart as a child -- not Charlotte's death itself or Wilbur's pain when most of her children leave him, but the fact that (spoiler alert) she dies alone after saving his life... ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
Charlotte's Web is a book I loved as a child and still love revisiting it as an adult. And it's quite the weeper! It's a simple barnyard fable of a piglet who is the runt of the litter saved by a girl named Fern and named Wilbur. As Wilbur grows and thrives he is faced with the reality that he will be butchered for pork. His life is saved by his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte who weaves words like "Some Pig" and "Terrific" into her webs. Wilbur grows to become a celebrity pig which saves him from the butchering block.

The natural response to this story is that Wilbur actually does nothing and it is Charlotte who should be recognized as a remarkable spider. The farmer's wife, Mrs. Zuckerman, says as much in the story. What I never noticed about this story as a child is how it is a social satire of how gullible humans are to the messages of advertising. But it's also a story of friendship and how Charlotte dedicates her naturally short life to preventing the unnatural end of Wilbur's life. As a result, Charlotte's legacy is ensured with Wilbur telling her story to generations of her descendants.

The book also features Templeton, a funny rat, who I loved as a child and who still cracks me up now. Charlotte's Web is a well-regarded classic and I can't help but throw my praise onto it's heap of plaudits. Have you read Charlotte's Web, and if you have what are your thoughts?

Favorite Passages:
“…A miracle has happened and a sign has occurred here on earth, right on our farm, and we have no ordinary pig.”

“Well,” said Mrs. Zuckerman, “it seems to me that you’re a little off. It seems to me we have no ordinary spider.

Final Lines: “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” ( )
  Othemts | Jul 4, 2020 |
As the story opens, eight year old farm girl Fern Arable stops her father from killing a piglet who has been labeled the runt of the litter. The little pig, whom Fern names Wilbur, becomes one of the central figures in the story. Eventually he will be befriended by Charlotte, the wise and loving spider of the book's title.

The book is beautifully written in simple, graceful language. It's just a pleasure to read from beginning to end. I remember weeping uncontrollably as a child when I realized that, at the end after laying her eggs, Charlotte dies. As an adult I now realize how skillfully the author handled the scene. As we approach the end we see Charlotte growing weaker and weaker. You begin to sense something is wrong and ultimately Charlotte's death doesn't come as a shock. After Charlotte dies, Wilbur guards her eggs until her babies are born, and while most of them fly away, three baby spiders stay behind and become his friends. He's able to guide them the way Charlotte guided him, which gives a wonderful sense of continuity.

A wonderful, wonderful book that I remember, along with The Wizard of Oz, Nancy Drew, and Little House on the Prairie as the hallmark books that have made me a lifelong lover of reading. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jul 2, 2020 |
This book is rightfully a children's classic. I am deeply arachnophobic and I still loved every word of it. Just lovely. ( )
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
I don’t know why I waited so long to read Charlotte’s Web. Such a beautiful, poignant story. A piece of brightness in dark times. ( )
  Arkrayder | Jun 3, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 909 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
E. B. Whiteprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cramer-Klett, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DiCamillo, KateForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Douglas, HazelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrari, AntongionataIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wells, RosemaryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, GarthIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
"Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
Quotations
On foggy mornings, Charlotte’s web was truly a thing of beauty. This morning each thin strand was decorated with dozens of tiny beads of water. The web glistened in the light and made a pattern of loveliness and mystery, like a delicate veil. (77)
“Winter will pass, the days will lengthen, the ice will melt in the pasture pond. The song sparrow will return and sing, the frogs will awake, the warm wind will blow again. All these sights and sounds and smells will be yours to enjoy. Wilbur – this lovely world, these precious days…” (164).
“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” (164).
Every day Wilbur would stand and look at the torn, empty web, and a lump would come to his throat. No one had ever had such a friend – so affectionate, so loyal, and so skillful. (173)
Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch. (176)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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Book description
Charlotte’s Web is a great story that I still so vividly remember reading in school. I truly believe it is a timeless classic. This book offers so many meanings for the reader to reflect upon and thoughts to grow on if children are given the opportunity. I also think the story brings in a great opportunity to expand and explore vocabulary. I just finished reading this story to my son who is first grade. I think I should have waited to read this when he was older, but I do think he enjoyed it.
Haiku summary
Wilbur is a runt,
Zuckerman plans to eat him,
Can Charlotte save him?
(Grimauds)
Charlotte the spider
Saves Wilbur by inventing
Viral marketing.
(jmeisen)
In Earth unworthy,
In danger near Christmastime,
But one spider helps.
(Firefox-Flame_dancer)

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Average: (4.21)
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1 36
1.5 6
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2.5 32
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4 1868
4.5 173
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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141317345, 0141316047, 0141333383

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